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

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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 His tactical approach seemed to become more prescriptive and the players’ freedom to innovate more restricted. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Hansen has high hope as All Blacks coaching tenure nears end," 20 Sep. 2019 LeanDNA, an Austin-based, prescriptive analytics platform for factory management, raised $15 million in Series B funding. Polina Marinova, Fortune, "Landlords Love the Electric Scooter Revolution," 12 Dec. 2019 The prescriptive nature of total carb abstinence may be appealing to some, but for others, can feel unnecessarily rigid. Samantha Cassetty, NBC News, "The pros and cons of keto cycling, according to health and medical experts," 9 Dec. 2019 Educators including Oregon City Assistant Superintendent Kyle Laier say the new approach, with its wider lens and less prescriptive tone, is working well. oregonlive, "Optimism, not resentment, rules as Oregon enters version 2.0 of school improvement crusade," 20 Oct. 2019 What energy producers will want to avoid above all else is the risk of more interventionist or prescriptive laws — a growing theme in climate politics as the window for taking action has narrowed. Liam Denning | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "Canada Votes for Climate Action. And Oil.," 22 Oct. 2019 Treatment should always be monitored by a physician and may include: prescriptive and other therapies, exercise, diet, sleep habits, changes in behavior and daily routines. Mike Oliver |, al, "10 things you should know about Lewy body dementia," 30 Oct. 2019 The left-wing mindset Barr has in mind can be extremely prescriptive about individuals’ use of language, consumption choices, and associations. Ramesh Ponnuru, National Review, "The First Freedom Fades," 24 Oct. 2019 Adult-themed exhibitions tend to offer a prescriptive path through a set of information and imagery. Steve Johnson,, "Hit ‘Nature Cat’ kids PBS show gets the museum treatment at the Kohl," 31 July 2019

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.

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First Known Use of prescriptive

1663, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for prescriptive

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The first known use of prescriptive was in 1663

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Statistics for prescriptive

Last Updated

31 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Prescriptive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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How to pronounce prescriptive (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of prescriptive

: giving exact rules, directions, or instructions about how you should do something
technical : providing rules and opinions that tell people how language should be used


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

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More from Merriam-Webster on prescriptive

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for prescriptive

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with prescriptive

Britannica English: Translation of prescriptive for Arabic Speakers

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