‘Prescribe’ and ‘proscribe’

Prescribe and proscribe do not mean the same thing. In some circumstances, it may be very important to know exactly which word to use. Most people are probably familiar with prescribe because it is the correct word for ‘to issue a prescription for medicine’.


  • to recommend or authorise the use of
  • to state authoritatively or lay down as a rule


  • to prohibit or forbid
  • to condemn or denounce; to outlaw or banish

My suggestion for remembering which word to use is to associate prescribe with yes and proscribe with no.


10 thoughts on “‘Prescribe’ and ‘proscribe’

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s