prescribe

prescribe 1 *dictate, ordain, decree, impose
Analogous words: order, *command, enjoin, bid: exact, *demand, require
2 Prescribe, assign, define mean to fix arbitrarily or authoritatively for the sake of order or of a clear understanding.
Prescribe stresses dictation, especially by one in command, and usually implies that the aim is to give explicit directions or clear guidance to those who accept one's authority or are bound to obey one's injunctions
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the Constitution prescribes the conditions under which it may be amended

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the attending physician prescribes the medicines for his patient

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the fixed routine of prescribed duties— Wilde

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the code of behavior which the culture prescribes for child training— Franz Alexander

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[m2]Assign (see also ALLOT, ASCRIBE) usually has some suggestion of allotment or ascription; it implies arbitrary but not despotic determination for the sake of some practical end such as harmony in operation or functioning, the proper distribution of a number of things, or the settlement of a dispute by agreement
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the city charter assigns the duties of each elected official and the limits of his authority

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the clause, assigning original jurisdiction to the supreme court— John Marshall

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impersonal words, such as those assigning latitude, longitude, and date— Russell

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Define implies an intent to mark boundaries between things so as to prevent confusion, conflict, or overlapping
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the issues here are not too well defined, but deliberation at this point may be fruitful in that respect— Terry Southern

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obscure symbolisms which define the relation of various age groups to each other— Sapir

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the Constitution of the United States prescribes the powers of the government, assigns the limits to each, and defines the functions of each branch

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Analogous words: *set, settle, fix, establish: direct, enjoin, instruct, order, *command

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

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  • prescribe — pre·scribe /pri skrīb/ vb pre·scribed, pre·scrib·ing vi 1: to claim title or a right to something (as an easement) by prescription a precarious possessor cannot prescribe against the owner 2 in the civil law of Louisiana: to become unenforceable… …   Law dictionary

  • Prescribe — Pre*scribe , v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Prescribed}; p. pr & vb. n. {Prescribing}.] [L. praescribere, praescriptum; prae before + scriebe to write. See {Scribe}.] [1913 Webster] 1. To lay down authoritatively as a guide, direction, or rule of action;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Prescribe — Pre*scribe , v. i. 1. To give directions; to dictate. [1913 Webster] A forwardness to prescribe to their opinions. Locke. [1913 Webster] 2. To influence by long use [Obs.] Sir T. Browne. [1913 Webster] 3. (Med.) To write or to give medical… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • prescribe — prescribe, proscribe A single letter distinguishes two words of very different meaning. A prescribed book (for example) is one that is chosen for a course of study, whereas a proscribed book is one that is forbidden or banned. Prescribe also has… …   Modern English usage

  • prescribe — ► VERB 1) recommend and authorize the use of (a medicine or treatment). 2) state authoritatively that (an action or procedure) should be carried out. USAGE On the confusion between prescribe and proscribe, see the note at PROSCRIBE(Cf.… …   English terms dictionary

  • prescribe — (v.) to write down as a direction, mid 15c., from L. praescribere (see PRESCRIPTION (Cf. prescription)). Related: Prescribed; prescribing …   Etymology dictionary

  • prescribe — [v] stipulate action to be taken appoint, assign, choose, command, decide, decree, define, designate, determine, dictate, direct, enjoin, establish, fix, guide, impose, lay down, ordain, order, pick out, require, rule, select, set, settle,… …   New thesaurus

  • prescribe — [prē skrīb′, priskrīb′] vt. prescribed, prescribing [L praescribere < prae , before + scribere, to write: see PRE & SCRIBE] 1. to set down as a rule or direction; order; ordain; direct 2. to order or advise as a medicine or treatment: said of… …   English World dictionary

  • prescribe — v. 1) (D; tr.) to prescribe for (to prescribe a remedy for the common cold) 2) (formal) (L; subj.) regulations prescribe that a lawyer draw up/should draw up the papers * * * [prɪ skraɪb] (formal) (L; subj.) regulations prescribe that a lawyer… …   Combinatory dictionary

  • prescribe — verb (T) 1 to say what medicine or treatment a sick person should have: prescribe sb sth: If these don t work I may have to prescribe you something stronger. | prescribe sth for sth: one of the most commonly prescribed drugs for treating… …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

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