View synonyms for prescriptive


[ pri-skrip-tiv ]


  1. that prescribes; giving directions or injunctions:

    a prescriptive letter from an anxious father.

  2. depending on or arising from effective legal prescription, as a right or title established by a long unchallenged tenure.


/ prɪˈskrɪptɪv /


  1. making or giving directions, rules, or injunctions
  2. sanctioned by long-standing usage or custom
  3. derived from or based upon legal prescription

    a prescriptive title

“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

Discover More

Derived Forms

  • preˈscriptiveness, noun
  • preˈscriptively, adverb
Discover More

Other Words From

  • pre·scrip·tive·ly adverb
  • pre·scrip·tive·ness noun
  • non·pre·scrip·tive adjective
Discover More

Word History and Origins

Origin of prescriptive1

First recorded in 1740–50; prescript + -ive, modeled on descriptive, destructive, etc.
Discover More

Example Sentences

It’s trying to be descriptive, not prescriptive, and to give a sense of the way life has been lived, whatever way that has been.

What’s changed is whether or not we are prescriptive in trying to boil things down to a few numbers.

Publishers are learning to be less prescriptive about what their communities need.

From Digiday

This design is in no way prescriptive of what you should do for your own Forester, other Subaru models, or any other vehicle that you already have.

Admittedly, I wanted period tracking to be a fix, and to offer me a prescriptive path back to better fitness and strength.

The fact that some prescriptive rules are valuable does not mean that every grammatical injunction should be obeyed.

It was descriptive, prescriptive, and exemplary in its clarity.

For better or worse, the standards are not very prescriptive.

Simmons knows she faces an uphill battle—but her goal this time around is to be prescriptive about the problem.

In accordance with a prescriptive right, this remonstrance was received by the king in person on March 14.

No institution, no branch of legislature, no church, no prerogative or prescriptive claim has any rights against the Right.

Woman's prescriptive infirmity had stalked into the sunlight, which had clothed it in the freshness of an originality.

No merely prescriptive external rules, borrowed from society when the mothers were girls, can fully answer the purpose.

A prescriptive government, such as ours, never was the work of any legislator, never was made upon any foregone theory.





prescriptionprescriptive grammar