[ pri-skrahyb ]
See synonyms for: prescribeprescribed on

verb (used with object),pre·scribed, pre·scrib·ing.
  1. to lay down, in writing or otherwise, as a rule or a course of action to be followed; appoint, ordain, or enjoin.

  2. Medicine/Medical. to designate or order the use of (a medicine, remedy, treatment, etc.).

verb (used without object),pre·scribed, pre·scrib·ing.
  1. to lay down rules; direct; dictate.

  2. Medicine/Medical. to designate remedies, treatment, etc., to be used.

  1. Law. to claim a right or title by virtue of long use and enjoyment; make a prescriptive claim. (usually followed by for or to).

Origin of prescribe

First recorded in 1425–75; late Middle English from Latin praescrībere “to direct in writing,” literally, “to write before or above,” equivalent to prae- pre- + scrībere “to write”; see scribe1, prescription

Other words for prescribe

Other words from prescribe

  • pre·scrib·a·ble, adjective
  • pre·scrib·er, noun
  • mis·pre·scribe, verb, mis·pre·scribed, mis·pre·scrib·ing.
  • non·pre·scrib·er, noun
  • o·ver·pre·scribe, verb, o·ver·pre·scribed, o·ver·pre·scrib·ing.
  • re·pre·scribe, verb (used with object), re·pre·scribed, re·pre·scrib·ing.

Words that may be confused with prescribe

Words Nearby prescribe Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use prescribe in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for prescribe


/ (prɪˈskraɪb) /

  1. to lay down as a rule or directive

  2. law to claim or acquire (a right, title, etc) by prescription

  1. law to make or become invalid or unenforceable by lapse of time

  2. med to recommend or order the use of (a drug or other remedy)

Origin of prescribe

C16: from Latin praescrībere to write previously, from prae before + scrībere to write

Derived forms of prescribe

  • prescriber, noun

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