verb (used with object), as·cribed, as·crib·ing.

to credit or assign, as to a cause or source; attribute; impute: The alphabet is usually ascribed to the Phoenicians.
to attribute or think of as belonging, as a quality or characteristic: They ascribed courage to me for something I did out of sheer panic.

Origin of ascribe

1400–50; late Middle English < Latin ascrībere, equivalent to a- a-5 + scrībere to scribe2; replacing Middle English ascrive < Middle French. See shrive
Related formsa·scrib·a·ble, adjectiveun·as·cribed, adjective
Can be confusedascribe proscribe subscribe

Synonym study

1. See attribute. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for ascribe

attribute, impute, reference, credit, charge, lay, accredit, refer

Examples from the Web for ascribe

Contemporary Examples of ascribe

Historical Examples of ascribe

  • To ascribe them specially to God would seem to us far-fetched.

  • That is, theoretically we may ascribe them to God, but practically we dissociate Him from them.

  • Nothing but our own pinchbeck ideas could ascribe to Him this pettiness.

  • The mitigation of that horror they condemn, resent, and often ascribe to the devil.

  • I would not ascribe to nature what is merely the outcome of my own moral views.


    Theodor Hertzka

British Dictionary definitions for ascribe


verb (tr)

to credit or assign, as to a particular origin or periodto ascribe parts of a play to Shakespeare
to attribute as a quality; consider as belonging toto ascribe beauty to youth
Derived Formsascribable, adjective

Word Origin for ascribe

C15: from Latin ascrībere to enrol, from ad in addition + scrībere to write


Ascribe is sometimes wrongly used where subscribe is meant: I do not subscribe (not ascribe) to this view
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for ascribe

mid-14c., ascrive, from Old French ascrivre "to inscribe; attribute, impute," from Latin ascribere "to write in, to add to in a writing," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + scribere "to write" (see script (n.)). Spelling restored by 16c. Related: Ascribed; ascribing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper