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[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.
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 ascribing
  • No one is ascribing any specific belligerence to them.
  • If it is not unreasonable, then you have an actual reason for ascribing this to some sort of divine being.
  • ascribing feelings to things is a way of protecting your own right to have feelings.
  • We never clothed him with those attributes of dignity which gentlemen have accused us of ascribing to him.
  • ascribing moronic views to them won't help you win your case.
  • Hmm the logical fallacy and irrelevance of ascribing motives.
  • To claim his fashion magazine sensibility for the cause of high art is a way of ascribing nutritive value to eye candy.
  • Twenty years ago, psychologists had a field day ascribing various functions to either the left or right side of the human brain.
  • Provides evidence for ascribing importance of communication skills depending on work relationship.
  • Physicians of the period reveled in ascribing various health benefits to particular waters.
British Dictionary definitions for ascribing


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 ascribing

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 ascribing



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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