from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Relating to or making rules, laws, or directions.
  • adjective Linguistics Based on or establishing norms or rules indicating how a language should or should not be used rather than describing the ways in which a language is used.
  • adjective Law Of or relating to acquisition or occupancy by prescription.
  • adjective Archaic Sanctioned or authorized by long-standing custom or usage.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Arising from established usage or opinion; customary.
  • Specifically, in law, pertaining to, resulting from, or based upon prescription.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective (Law) Consisting in, or acquired by, immemorial or long-continued use and enjoyment; ; pleading the continuance and authority of long custom.
  • adjective Of or pertaining to the doctrine that acceptable grammatical rules should be prescribed by authority, rather than be determined by common usage.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Of or pertaining to prescribing or enjoining, especially an action or behavior based on a norm or standard.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective pertaining to giving directives or rules


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • But, this does not make the label prescriptive) King Agrippa, a Gentile, uses the term to describe Paul's people and then we have Peter who simply says that if one suffers because of the use of this derogatory name of "Christian" to not be ashamed of it and to glorify God in this.

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  • It's all rubbish, but in any environment where authority goes hand in hand with level of engagement - the best critters are the ones that crit the most - anything prescriptive is going to be suspect.

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  • So long as writers have a basic competence in English, prescriptive grammar is largely a distraction that keeps them from focusing on the needs of their work. GRAMMAR AND THE PRESCRIPTIVE ATTITUDE. 2005

  • In the medieval trivium, however, grammar did not include the study of morphology and syntax; it was what would now be called prescriptive grammar.

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  • In the medieval trivium, however, grammar did not include the study of morphology and syntax; it was what would now be called prescriptive grammar.

    Literature: the very idea 2008

  • First, it is prescriptive, which is to say that moral judgments express the will in a way analogous to commands.

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  • Burke would go to war for the idea of prescriptive right; Pitt declined to fight for the

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  • What is at the heart of the discussion here is known as a prescriptive easement, a form of adverse possession. Stories 2010

  • The grammar books you're used to are what linguists call prescriptive: that is, they prescribe rules for proper usage.

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  • "We've tried to be non-prescriptive, which is to say, look, here's the timeline, here's the decision points you will face, here are the choices that you will face," without recommending policy choices, he said.

    Home - 2008


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