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

define, lay down, specify

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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 medication her doctor prescribed didn’t seem to be working. Anna Claire Vollers | Avollers@al.com, al.com, "Deaths from pregnancy and child birth are often preventable; Alabama finally starts to take notice," 9 June 2019 In more severe cases, your doctor may prescribe oral corticosteroids or antihistamines, said Zeichner. Htv National Desk, Houston Chronicle, "Woman’s blistering 'margarita burn' a warning about the popular summer drink," 5 June 2019 Sometimes doctors will also prescribe medications known as benzodiazepines like diazepam (Valium), alprazolam (Xanax), and clonazepam (Klonopin) to reduce anxiety as quickly as possible. Cassie Shortsleeve, SELF, "8 Ways to Make Panic Attacks a Little More Bearable," 5 June 2019 Sometimes doctors prescribe drugs for uses that have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Author: Christopher Rowland, Anchorage Daily News, "Pfizer had clues its blockbuster drug could prevent Alzheimer’s. Why didn’t it tell the world?," 5 June 2019 Three times doctors prescribed her opioid painkillers. Sumathi Reddy, WSJ, "The Push for Fewer Opioids for New Mothers," 3 June 2019 My doctors prescribed me pain medications, including oxycodone. Sarah Gad, Marie Claire, "My Drug Overdose Saved My Life. Now I'm Saving Others.," 15 Mar. 2019 For example, the AAP suggests doctors prescribe methylphenidate (sold under brand names including Ritalin) to preschool-age children when behavioral therapy fails or isn’t available. Julia Belluz, Vox, "Kids who start kindergarten young are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD," 17 Dec. 2018 Rather, they were strongly associated with the local prevalence of misconduct by financial advisers, corruption among public officials, drug-company influence on what doctors prescribe, and subscriptions to an infidelity website. Kevin Lewis, BostonGlobe.com, "Most likely to prosecute," 29 June 2018

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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Statistics for prescribe

Last Updated

14 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for prescribe

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

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More Definitions for prescribe

prescribe

verb

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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