pre·​scrip·​tive | \ pri-ˈskrip-tiv How to pronounce prescriptive (audio) \

Definition of prescriptive

1 : serving to prescribe prescriptive rules of usage
2 : acquired by, founded on, or determined by prescription or by long-standing custom

Other Words from prescriptive

prescriptively adverb

Examples of prescriptive in a Sentence

Critics claim the new rules are too prescriptive. even in this age of e-mail the prescriptive response to a wedding gift is a handwritten thank-you note
Recent Examples on the Web Still, given the vagaries of the last several years, the young playwright knows better than to be too prescriptive about what that looks like. Marley Marius, Vogue, 29 Apr. 2022 That led to the creation of a bill that is in many way prescriptive — calling for specific policy and programmatic steps. Globe Staff,, 7 Apr. 2022 One of its most biting sketches imagined a focus group where the wildly contradictory negative feedback about a show involved prescriptive demands. New York Times, 27 Apr. 2022 The tech industry, meanwhile, has actively lobbied on the measure, in some cases warning about the risks that prescriptive requirements could pose to innovation. Brian Fung, CNN, 23 Apr. 2022 Moving from predictive to prescriptive AI, Cohen plans to use data and AI to stimulate a circular economy, optimize the efficiency of small businesses by digitizing supply chains, and making legal advice more accessible, reported McGill Reporter. Karl Moore, Forbes, 21 Apr. 2022 Some in the room wanted to mandate that Smith enroll in anger management therapy, though that kind of prescriptive punishment didn’t have much backing. Josh Rottenberg, Los Angeles Times, 8 Apr. 2022 In 2020, the organization adopted a policy recognizing cannabis as a medical therapy — a massive shift from what were previously prescriptive requirements for physicians to recommend cannabis. Globe Staff,, 23 Mar. 2022 Borshch is a forgiving and not especially prescriptive dish. Washington Post, 11 Mar. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of prescriptive

1663, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of prescriptive was in 1663

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Last Updated

25 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Prescriptive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for prescriptive


pre·​scrip·​tive | \ pri-ˈskrip-tiv How to pronounce prescriptive (audio) \

Legal Definition of prescriptive

1 : serving to prescribe prescriptive rules
2 : acquired by, founded on, or constituting prescription a prescriptive right a longer prescriptive period

More from Merriam-Webster on prescriptive

Britannica English: Translation of prescriptive for Arabic Speakers


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