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 Researchers added that doctors should be more careful when prescribing opioids. Steven Reinberg, CBS News, "Rural Americans are more likely to die from preventable causes, CDC reports," 8 Nov. 2019 As far as treatment goes, antacids are what doctors prescribe to relieve stomach ulcer symptoms. Maggie O'neill, Health.com, "What Is a Stomach Ulcer? Here’s What You Need to Know About Symptoms and Treatment," 1 Nov. 2019 Specifically, the pediatrician alerted the administration several times over the years that Awaad was using EEG’s excessively and prescribing anticonvulsant drugs to children who did not need them. Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan doctor accused of misdiagnosing children with epilepsy finally goes to trial," 23 Oct. 2019 An investigation by multiple states showed that Reckitt Benckiser knowingly promoted Suboxone to doctors, who later prescribed the drugs for unsafe, ineffective and medically unnecessary uses, a news release from Yost’s office says. Eric Heisig, cleveland, "Ohio to receive $39 million from drug company following investigation into opioid addiction treatment medication Suboxone," 23 Oct. 2019 Wilkins issued a 32-page order that set out deadlines for the administration to comply with state law that prescribes the steps that must be taken before any restrictive regulations on vaping — or anything else — can take effect. BostonGlobe.com, "Judge is critical but allows Baker’s vaping sales ban to stand - The Boston Globe," 22 Oct. 2019 This might sound clinical, but there is nothing dry or prescribed about either Chesnut’s methods or his work. Leah Ollman, Los Angeles Times, "Review: Paintings that read as anything but: The intriguing ‘Test Patterns’ of Fritz Chesnut," 21 Oct. 2019 For most people with psoriasis, topical creams are the first line of treatment that their doctor will prescribe. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "Here’s Why Your Doctor Might Prescribe a Biologic for Your Psoriasis," 21 Oct. 2019 The idea behind the initiative was that such transparency might dissuade industry payments to physicians, which research has shown time and again influences prescribing and care practices. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Report: More than half of all US doctors get money from pharma each year," 18 Oct. 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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Statistics for prescribe

Last Updated

15 Nov 2019

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
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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