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See more synonyms for scribe on Thesaurus.com
  1. a person who serves as a professional copyist, especially one who made copies of manuscripts before the invention of printing.
  2. a public clerk or writer, usually one having official status.
  3. Also called sopher, sofer. Judaism. one of the group of Palestinian scholars and teachers of Jewish law and tradition, active from the 5th century b.c. to the 1st century a.d., who transcribed, edited, and interpreted the Bible.
  4. a writer or author, especially a journalist.
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verb (used without object), scribed, scrib·ing.
  1. to act as a scribe; write.
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verb (used with object), scribed, scrib·ing.
  1. to write down.
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Origin of scribe1

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin scrība clerk, derivative of scrībere to write
Related formsscrib·al, adjectiveun·scrib·al, adjective


verb (used with object), scribed, scrib·ing.
  1. to mark or score (wood or the like) with a pointed instrument as a guide to cutting or assembling.
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  1. scriber.
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Origin of scribe2

First recorded in 1670–80; perhaps aphetic form of inscribe
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

carve, etch, engrave, compose, rewrite, create, scrawl, sign, note, record, pen, draft, address, print, scribble, tell, cut, list, register, impress

Examples from the Web for scribing

Historical Examples

  • It can be done with the dividers by using care in scribing the centers.

    Practical Mechanics for Boys

    J. S. Zerbe

  • These points are your centers for scribing the long sides of the ellipse.

  • The heading has been brought on board, but the "scribing" upon it is very indistinct, and unintelligible to us.

    In the Arctic Seas

    Francis Leopold McClintock

  • The handle, therefore, always serves as a guide for the blade in scribing work, because it lies flat down on the work.

  • Place the sticks in position and mark the width of each upon the surface of the other, using a knife or chisel for scribing.

    Woodworking for Beginners

    Charles Gardner Wheeler

British Dictionary definitions for scribing


  1. a person who copies documents, esp a person who made handwritten copies before the invention of printing
  2. a clerk or public copyist
  3. Old Testament a recognized scholar and teacher of the Jewish Law
  4. Judaism a man qualified to write certain documents in accordance with religious requirements
  5. an author or journalist: used humorously
  6. another name for scriber
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  1. to score a line on (a surface) with a pointed instrument, as in metalworking
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Derived Formsscribal, adjective

Word Origin

(in the senses: writer, etc) C14: from Latin scrība clerk, from scrībere to write; C17 (vb): perhaps from inscribe


  1. Augustin Eugène (oɡystɛ̃ øʒɛn). 1791–1861, French author or coauthor of over 350 vaudevilles, comedies, and libretti for light opera
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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 scribing



c.1200, "professional interpreter of the Jewish Law" (late 11c. as a surname), from Church Latin scriba "teacher of Jewish law," used in Vulgate to render Greek grammateus (corresponding to Hebrew sopher "writer, scholar"), special use of Latin scriba "keeper of accounts, secretary, writer," from past participle stem of scribere "to write;" see script (n.). Sense "one who writes, official or public writer" in English is from late 14c.

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"to write," mid-15c., from Latin scribere "to write" (see script (n.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper