9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[uh-skrahyb] /əˈskraɪb/
verb (used with object), ascribed, ascribing.
to credit or assign, as to a cause or source; attribute; impute:
The alphabet is usually ascribed to the Phoenicians.
to attribute or think of as belonging, as a quality or characteristic:
They ascribed courage to me for something I did out of sheer panic.
Origin of ascribe
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Latin ascrībere, equivalent to a- a-5 + scrībere to scribe2; replacing Middle English ascrive < Middle French. See shrive
Related forms
ascribable, adjective
unascribed, adjective
Can be confused
ascribe, proscribe, subscribe.
1. See attribute. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for ascribe
  • Climate change researchers are hesitant to ascribe a single cause for the warming, but they agree it's happening.
  • Perhaps you should not be so quick to ascribe motives.
  • Article makes a good point, it's foolish to ascribe one reason to such a complex and often non-economic decision.
  • The author might have done better to ascribe comic verbal ticks to only a few characters.
  • But people ascribe more evil motives to the record companies or copyright owners than they deserve.
  • Lesson: Never ascribe to a basketball team the qualities of the institution's president.
  • They ascribe the crime to the collapse of oil prices, high unemployment and cutthroat competition.
  • You can't ascribe any underlying significance to this without more analysis of his social context.
  • They don't just give a name, they ascribe value.
  • It is not a conclusion that the death stemmed from a criminal act nor does it ascribe criminal liability.
British Dictionary definitions for ascribe


verb (transitive)
to credit or assign, as to a particular origin or period: to ascribe parts of a play to Shakespeare
to attribute as a quality; consider as belonging to: to ascribe beauty to youth
Derived Forms
ascribable, adjective
Usage note
Ascribe is sometimes wrongly used where subscribe is meant: I do not subscribe (not ascribe) to this view
Word Origin
C15: from Latin ascrībere to enrol, from ad in addition + 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
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Contemporary definitions for ascribe

to count; to enter into an account

Word Origin

Latin ad- + scribere 'to write'

Usage Note

transitive; used with to's 21st Century Lexicon
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Word Origin and History for ascribe

mid-14c., ascrive, from Old French ascrivre "to inscribe; attribute, impute," from Latin ascribere "to write in, to add to in a writing," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + scribere "to write" (see script (n.)). Spelling restored by 16c. Related: Ascribed; ascribing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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