See more synonyms for ascribe on
verb (used with object), as·cribed, as·crib·ing.
  1. to credit or assign, as to a cause or source; attribute; impute: The alphabet is usually ascribed to the Phoenicians.
  2. 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. 2018

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

  • 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.

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

  • 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)
  1. to credit or assign, as to a particular origin or periodto ascribe parts of a play to Shakespeare
  2. 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