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[pri-skrahyb] /prɪˈskraɪb/
verb (used with object), prescribed, prescribing.
to lay down, in writing or otherwise, as a rule or a course of action to be followed; appoint, ordain, or enjoin.
Medicine/Medical. to designate or order the use of (a medicine, remedy, treatment, etc.).
verb (used without object), prescribed, prescribing.
to lay down rules; direct; dictate.
Medicine/Medical. to designate remedies, treatment, etc., to be used.
Law. to claim a right or title by virtue of long use and enjoyment; make a prescriptive claim. (usually followed by for or to).
Origin of prescribe
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English < Latin praescrībere to direct in writing, literally, to write before or above, equivalent to prae- pre- + scrībere to write; see scribe1, prescription
Related forms
prescribable, adjective
prescriber, noun
misprescribe, verb, misprescribed, misprescribing.
nonprescribed, adjective
nonprescriber, noun
overprescribe, verb, overprescribed, overprescribing.
represcribe, verb (used with object), represcribed, represcribing.
self-prescribed, adjective
unprescribed, adjective
Can be confused
prescribe, proscribe.
1. direct, dictate, decree. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for prescribed
  • In many cases, the drug was prescribed to treat attention deficit disorders.
  • As could be expected, university policies that deny students access to prescribed marijuana can draw legal challenges.
  • If such remedies were prescribed in drastic form, they might well rule out both mergers.
  • For individuals who are found legally insane, psychiatric medication is often prescribed to treat the underlying mental disorder.
  • Walker, she began by using the prescribed curriculum to shape and mold us as her students.
  • My pathway to the field was by no means prescribed but, considered retrospectively, seems almost obvious.
  • The drugs that are prescribed are those on each hospital's official purchasing list.
  • My brother's dog died from a medicine that was prescribed by his vet and he says be can't go through that again.
  • She prescribed some drug or other to bring this down, but it caused an all over rash so he stopped.
  • Farm vehicles equipped with global-positioning-system locaters automatically mix and apply the prescribed dose to each area.
British Dictionary definitions for prescribed


to lay down as a rule or directive
(law) to claim or acquire (a right, title, etc) by prescription
(law) to make or become invalid or unenforceable by lapse of time
(med) to recommend or order the use of (a drug or other remedy)
Derived Forms
prescriber, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin praescrībere to write previously, from prae before + 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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Word Origin and History for prescribed



"to write down as a direction," mid-15c., from Latin praescribere "write beforehand" (see prescription). Related: Prescribed; prescribing. Medical sense is from 1580s, probably a back formation from prescription.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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prescribed in Medicine

prescribe pre·scribe (prĭ-skrīb')
v. pre·scribed, pre·scrib·ing, pre·scribes
To give directions, either orally or in writing, for the preparation and administration of a remedy to be used in the treatment of a disease.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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