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 basic premise is unchanged since the 1930s: Teams take turns selecting players, who can only sign with that franchise, at a wage scale prescribed by the NFL’s union contract. Oliver Staley, Quartz at Work, "How the NFL separates good from great when evaluating talent," 24 Oct. 2019 Entities dealing with scrap vehicles will now have to meet the technical requirements (pdf) prescribed by the central pollution control board (CPCB). Sangeeta Tanwar, Quartz India, "India’s proposed vehicle-scrapping policy may not be the right pill for its auto industry," 18 Oct. 2019 Those that tracked their responses reported disclosing records in more than half of the requests, but denying records in many others and often failing to respond to requests within the time frame prescribed by the law. Kevin Rector, baltimoresun.com, "Maryland agencies lack consistent policies, struggle to comply with public records requests, surveys show," 8 Oct. 2019 Though the numbers look random, they are meant to still fall into a pattern prescribed by Google’s algorithm. Wired, "Why Google's Quantum Victory Is a Huge Deal—and a Letdown," 26 Sep. 2019 States and local governments accuse Purdue of deploying hyper-aggressive marketing tactics to dupe doctors into over-prescribing OxyContin, leading to a surge in overdoses and addiction across the country. Jef Feeley, Fortune, "Sackler Family Backs $11B Settlement of Opioid Lawsuits That Would See Purdue Pharma File for Bankruptcy," 28 Aug. 2019 States and local governments accuse Purdue of deploying hyper-aggressive marketing tactics to dupe doctors into over-prescribing OxyContin, leading to a surge in overdoses and addiction across the country. Los Angeles Times, "Sackler family backs $11.5-billion Purdue opioid settlement," 28 Aug. 2019 When there is only one way of doing things—the way prescribed by big business, which seeks only to maximize crop yield—then human beings have made a mistake. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "Honeyland Is a Stinging Allegory for Man-Made Disaster," 9 Aug. 2019 Both Mr Barroso and Ms Kroes took up their corporate positions following an 18-month embargo on lobbying work prescribed by the code of ethics for commissioners. The Economist, "A consulting firm founded by an outgoing commissioner tests the rules," 8 Aug. 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

29 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Prescribe.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/prescribes. Accessed 5 December 2019.

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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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