prescribe

verb
pre·​scribe | \ pri-ˈskrīb How to pronounce prescribe (audio) \
prescribed; prescribing

Definition of prescribe

intransitive verb

1 : to lay down a rule : dictate
2 [Middle English, from Medieval Latin praescribere, from Latin, to write at the beginning] : to claim a title to something by right of prescription
3 : to write or give medical prescriptions
4 : to become by prescription invalid or unenforceable

transitive verb

1a : to lay down as a guide, direction, or rule of action : ordain
b : to specify with authority
2 : to designate or order the use of as a remedy prescribed a painkiller a prescribed burn to restore natural forest conditions

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Other Words from prescribe

prescriber noun

Synonyms for prescribe

Synonyms

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Proscribe vs. Prescribe

Proscribe and prescribe each have a Latin-derived prefix that means "before" attached to the verb "scribe" (from scribere, meaning "to write"). Yet the two words have very distinct, often nearly opposite meanings. Why? In a way, you could say it's the law. In the 15th and 16th centuries both words had legal implications. To proscribe was to publish the name of a person who had been condemned, outlawed, or banished. To prescribe meant "to lay down a rule," including legal rules or orders.

Examples of prescribe in a Sentence

This drug should not be prescribed to children. a drug commonly prescribed to treat rashes The doctor prescribed three months of physical therapy for my leg injury. The law prescribes a prison sentence of at least five years for the crime. The regulations prescribe that all employees must pass a physical examination. We must follow the rules as prescribed by the government.
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Recent Examples on the Web Past coverage in Men’s Health and Vox has stated that the company is amassing an army of doctors to prescribe CrossFit and that Glassman is working to completely overhaul the American health care system. Tessa Love, Outside Online, "Greg Glassman’s Easy Health Care Fix: More CrossFit," 16 Jan. 2020 Last year, Adam Clark-Joseph, cofounder of the mail order pharmacy Valisure, ordered ranitidine syrup, prescribed to treat reflux in his infant daughter. Michele Cohen Marill, Wired, "The FDA Announces Two More Antacid Recalls Due to Cancer Risk," 10 Jan. 2020 The mesh sizes and shape of the net were also prescribed by the government. Haritha John, Quartz India, "Fish meal and fish oil industries are wiping out India’s marine resources," 8 Jan. 2020 Both crossword puzzle clues and Merriam-Webster definitions are crafted to reflect current usage, not to prescribe future usage. Ryan P. Smith, Smithsonian Magazine, "How Crosswords Came of Age in the 2010s," 31 Dec. 2019 The petition indicates Miller-Brantley also has a long history of refusing to take the medications prescribed to treat his mental health diagnosis. Sarah Horner, Twin Cities, "Man charged with killing girlfriend in St. Paul found incompetent to stand trial due to mental illness," 13 Dec. 2019 Working with local community organizations and health centers, the CDC is trying to provide clearer guidelines about who PrEP is for, how to prescribe it, and how to get it cheaply or free of charge. Sara Harrison, WIRED, "PrEP Made HIV Prevention Easier—and It’s Getting Even Simpler," 30 July 2019 Its anti-opioid program, Reset-O, was cleared by the Food and Drug Administration late last year and can now be prescribed by doctors in conjunction with other treatments. Kevin Roose, New York Times, "The 2019 Good Tech Awards," 30 Dec. 2019 The veterinarian may prescribe an anti-anxiety medication. Washington Post, "Hints From Heloise: Fireworks might make the fur fly!," 28 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'prescribe.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of prescribe

15th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for prescribe

Middle English, from Latin praescribere to write at the beginning, dictate, order, from prae- + scribere to write — more at scribe

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Time Traveler for prescribe

Time Traveler

The first known use of prescribe was in the 15th century

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Statistics for prescribe

Last Updated

25 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Prescribe.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/prescribed. Accessed 29 January 2020.

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More Definitions for prescribe

prescribe

verb
How to pronounce prescribe (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of prescribe

: to officially tell someone to use (a medicine, therapy, diet, etc.) as a remedy or treatment
: to make (something) an official rule

prescribe

verb
pre·​scribe | \ pri-ˈskrīb How to pronounce prescribe (audio) \
prescribed; prescribing

Kids Definition of prescribe

1 : to order or direct the use of as a remedy Did the doctor prescribe medicine?
2 : to lay down as a rule of action : order School rules prescribe daily physical activity.

prescribe

verb
pre·​scribe | \ pri-ˈskrīb How to pronounce prescribe (audio) \
prescribed; prescribing

Medical Definition of prescribe

intransitive verb

: to write or give medical prescriptions

transitive verb

: to designate or order the use of as a remedy prescribe a drug

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prescribe

verb
pre·​scribe | \ pri-ˈskrīb How to pronounce prescribe (audio) \
prescribed; prescribing

Legal Definition of prescribe

intransitive verb

1 : to claim title or a right to something (as an easement) by prescription a precarious possessor cannot prescribe against the owner
2 in the civil law of Louisiana : to become unenforceable or invalid by prescription any party having an interest in a money judgment may have it revived before it prescribesLouisiana Civil Code

transitive verb

1 : to lay down as a rule or guide : specify with authority the times, places and manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the legislature thereofU.S. Constitution art. I
2 in the civil law of Louisiana : to invalidate or bar the enforcement of by prescription this claim for damages shall not be prescribed so long as the minor's right of action exists against his tutorLouisiana Civil Code

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Comments on prescribe

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to assert without proof or before proving

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