proscribe

verb

pro·​scribe prō-ˈskrīb How to pronounce proscribe (audio)
proscribed; proscribing

transitive verb

1
: to publish the name of as condemned to death with the property of the condemned forfeited to the state
2
: to condemn or forbid as harmful or unlawful : prohibit
proscriber noun

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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 proscribe in a Sentence

acts that are proscribed by law regulations proscribe the use of electronic devices on board a plane while it is landing
Recent Examples on the Web In a revision of its Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act, Tokyo proscribed exports of some 23 chipmaking items, including much technology essential to the production of cutting-edge chips, including equipment for cleaning, monitoring, and lithography. Milton Ezrati, Forbes, 27 Feb. 2024 The separation was under terms proscribed by Ruby and Jodi Hildebrandt. Skyler Caruso, Peoplemag, 20 Feb. 2024 As the Pentagon knew, bin Laden was already in Pakistan; as Hans Blix and Scott Ritter told us, there was no evidence Saddam had proscribed weapons. Ted Rall, Orange County Register, 27 Jan. 2024 The Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir is to be proscribed as a terrorist organisation and banned from organising in the UK, the home secretary has announced. The Week Uk, theweek, 16 Jan. 2024 German police launched a dawn raid Thursday against local representatives of Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that runs Gaza and has been proscribed as a terror group in Germany. Bojan Pancevski, WSJ, 24 Nov. 2023 Religion and economics are usually regarded as separate domains, except for religious injunctions that prescribe or proscribe certain forms of economic behavior. Torkel Brekke, Foreign Affairs, 13 Feb. 2017 The charge of crimes against peace had been justified in Nuremberg by various prewar agreements to proscribe war, such as the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928. Ian Buruma, The New Yorker, 16 Oct. 2023 Under the Terrorism Act 2000, the home secretary, Braverman, is empowered to proscribe, or condemn an organization if there are concerns the group is associated with terrorism. Greg Wehner, Fox News, 5 Sep. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'proscribe.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Latin proscribere to publish, proscribe, from pro- before + scribere to write — more at scribe

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of proscribe was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Proscribe.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/proscribe. Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

proscribe

verb
pro·​scribe prō-ˈskrīb How to pronounce proscribe (audio)
proscribed; proscribing

Legal Definition

proscribe

transitive verb
pro·​scribe prō-ˈskrīb How to pronounce proscribe (audio)
proscribed; proscribing
: to condemn or forbid as harmful or unlawful
Etymology

Latin proscribere to publish, proscribe, from pro- before + scribere to write

More from Merriam-Webster on proscribe

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