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 The president might have meant that hydroxychloroquine was approved for malaria, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis, and that clinicians could prescribe it off-label. Adam Rogers, Wired, "The Strange and Twisted Tale of Hydroxychloroquine," 11 Nov. 2020 Unlike most other high-demand drugs that physicians might prescribe to hospital patients, there is no generic alternative to remdesivir, Hunfeld, whose stock was replenished several days later, said. NBC News, "As Covid-19 surges across Europe, countries fear drug shortages," 16 Oct. 2020 But several medical experts said that the decision to prescribe dexamethasone to Mr. Trump did not align with that optimistic scenario. Katie Thomas, New York Times, "Use of Dexamethasone to Treat Trump Suggests Severe Covid-19, Experts Say," 4 Oct. 2020 The exemption does not apply to prescribing methadone, which in general is more strictly regulated than buprenorphine, to new patients; though for now, practitioners can use telehealth to prescribe methadone to existing patients. Mara Santilli, refinery29.com, "Will COVID-19 Change The Way We Treat Opioid Use Disorders?," 23 Sep. 2020 Per the study, Raphael’s secrecy regarding his late-night outings may have led doctors to misdiagnose his ailment and prescribe dangerous treatment that ultimately accelerated his death. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "New Research Suggests Bloodletting, Pneumonia Killed Raphael," 22 July 2020 The bill creating California’s reparations task force doesn’t prescribe the form of potential compensation or who might be eligible. Dustin Gardiner, SFChronicle.com, "California’s conflicted history on slavery is central to reparations push for Black people," 18 Oct. 2020 Both types of physicians can prescribe medicine and treat patients in similar ways. Kaiser Health News, oregonlive, "President Trump’s doctor is an osteopath, not an M.D.: What does that mean?," 11 Oct. 2020 Some doctors prescribe preventive anticoagulants to manage clotting or preventive antibiotics to halt infection in the intensive care unit. Monique Brouillette, Scientific American, "Trump’s COVID Case Could Be Entering a Crucial Stage," 9 Oct. 2020

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

16 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Prescribe.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/prescribe. Accessed 26 Nov. 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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