Word of the Day

Saturday, August 07, 1999


\uh-SKRYB\ , transitive verb;
To attribute, as to a source or cause; as, "they ascribed the poor harvest to drought."
To attribute, as a quality; to consider or allege to belong; as, "ascribed jealousy to the critics."
Scholars conventionally ascribe Hemingway's creative dissolution to drinking and depression, but to me that has always seemed too simple.
-- D. T. Max, "Ernest Hemingway's War Wounds", New York Times Magazine, July 18, 1999
Plainness won't do for today's cookbook writers; when they're not emoting over mere food, they ascribe all sorts of fanciful powers to it.
-- "Shut Up and Eat!", New York Times, November 24, 1996
Ascribe is from Latin ascribere, "to write in, to add in writing, hence to attribute," from ad- + scribere, "to write."
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