verb (used with object), tran·scribed, tran·scrib·ing.
  1. to make a written copy, especially a typewritten copy, of (dictated material, notes taken during a lecture, or other spoken material).
  2. to make an exact copy of (a document, text, etc.).
  3. to write out in another language or alphabet; translate or transliterate: to transcribe Chinese into English characters.
  4. Phonetics. to represent (speech sounds) in written phonetic or phonemic symbols.
  5. Radio. to make a recording of (a program, announcement, etc.) for broadcasting.
  6. Music. to arrange (a composition) for a medium other than that for which it was originally written.
  7. Genetics. to effect genetic transcription of (a DNA molecule template).

Origin of transcribe

1545–55; < Latin trānscrībere to copy off, equivalent to trāns- trans- + scrībere to write. See scribe1
Related formstran·scrib·er, nounmis·tran·scribe, verb (used with object), mis·tran·scribed, mis·tran·scrib·ing.non·tran·scrib·ing, adjectivepre·tran·scribe, verb (used with object), pre·tran·scribed, pre·tran·scrib··tran·scribe, verb (used with object), re·tran·scribed, re·tran·scrib·ing.un·tran·scribed, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for retranscribe


verb (tr)
  1. to write, type, or print out fully from speech, notes, etc
  2. to make a phonetic transcription of
  3. to transliterate or translate
  4. to make an electrical recording of (a programme or speech) for a later broadcast
  5. music to rewrite (a piece of music) for an instrument or medium other than that originally intended; arrange
  6. computing
    1. to transfer (information) from one storage device, such as punched cards, to another, such as magnetic tape
    2. to transfer (information) from a computer to an external storage device
  7. (usually passive) biochem to convert the genetic information in (a strand of DNA) into a strand of RNA, esp messenger RNASee also genetic code, translate (def. 6)
Derived Formstranscribable, adjectivetranscriber, noun

Word Origin for transcribe

C16: from Latin transcrībere, from trans- + 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 retranscribe



1550s, from Latin transcribere "to copy, write again in another place, write over, transfer," from trans- "over" (see trans-) + scribere "write" (see script (n.)). To do it poorly is to transcribble (1746). Related: Transcribed; transcribing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper