[ pri-skrip-tiv ]
/ prɪˈskrɪp tɪv /


that prescribes; giving directions or injunctions: a prescriptive letter from an anxious father.
depending on or arising from effective legal prescription, as a right or title established by a long unchallenged tenure.

Nearby words

  1. prescreen,
  2. prescribe,
  3. prescript,
  4. prescriptible,
  5. prescription,
  6. prescriptive grammar,
  7. prescriptivism,
  8. prescriptivist,
  9. prescutum,
  10. preseason

Origin of prescriptive

1740–50; prescript + -ive, modeled on descriptive, etc.

Related formspre·scrip·tive·ly, adverbpre·scrip·tive·ness, nounnon·pre·scrip·tive, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for prescriptive

British Dictionary definitions for prescriptive


/ (prɪˈskrɪptɪv) /


making or giving directions, rules, or injunctions
sanctioned by long-standing usage or custom
derived from or based upon legal prescriptiona prescriptive title
Derived Formsprescriptively, adverbprescriptiveness, 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

Word Origin and History for prescriptive



1748, from Late Latin praescriptivus, from praescript-, past participle stem of praescribere (see prescription). Or formed in English from archaic prescript "a direction" (1530s), from Latin praescriptum.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper