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verb (used with object), pro·scribed, pro·scrib·ing.
  1. to denounce or condemn (a thing) as dangerous or harmful; prohibit.
  2. to put outside the protection of the law; outlaw.
  3. to banish or exile.
  4. to announce the name of (a person) as condemned to death and subject to confiscation of property.
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Origin of proscribe

1375–1425; late Middle English < Latin prōscrībere to publish in writing, confiscate, outlaw. See pro-1, prescribe
Related formspro·scrib·a·ble, adjectivepro·scrib·er, nounun·pro·scrib·a·ble, adjectiveun·pro·scribed, adjective
Can be confusedascribe proscribe subscribeprescribe proscribe

Synonyms for proscribe

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for proscribe

forbid, prohibit, outlaw, embargo, blackball, ostracize, sentence, expel, denounce, censure, boycott, exile, interdict, damn, excommunicate, reject, ban, expatriate, deport, doom

Examples from the Web for proscribe

Historical Examples of proscribe

  • Proscribe French, their mother tongue, and they will hate you and have nothing to do with your schools.


    N. A. Belcourt

British Dictionary definitions for proscribe


verb (tr)
  1. to condemn or prohibit
  2. to outlaw; banish; exile
  3. (in ancient Rome) to outlaw (a citizen) by posting his name in public
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Derived Formsproscriber, noun

Word Origin for proscribe

C16: from Latin prōscrībere to put up a written public notice, from prō- in public + scrībere to write
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 proscribe


early 15c., "write before, prefix," from Latin proscribere "publish in writing" (literally "write in front of"), including senses of "publish as having forfeited one's property, condemn, outlaw before the world," from pro- "before" (see pro-) + scribere "to write" (see script (n.)). Meaning "prohibit as wrong or dangerous" first recorded 1620s.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper