The term is fairly recent (1930s) with reference to language, and denotes a concept of grammar as laying down (or ‘prescribing’) rules rather than observing and describing the language in use (this latter concept being called descriptive).

Modern English usage. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • prescriptive — pre·scrip·tive /pri skrip tiv/ adj 1: serving to prescribe prescriptive rules 2: acquired by, founded on, or constituting prescription a prescriptive right a longer prescriptive period Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law …   Law dictionary

  • Prescriptive — Pre*scrip tive, a. [L. praescriptivus of a demurrer or legal exception.] 1. (Law) Consisting in, or acquired by, immemorial or long continued use and enjoyment; as, a prescriptive right of title; pleading the continuance and authority of long… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • prescriptive — (adj.) 1748, from L.L. praescriptivus, from praescriptum, pp. of praescribere (see PRESCRIPTION (Cf. prescription)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • prescriptive — ► ADJECTIVE 1) relating to the imposition of a rule or method. 2) (of a right, title, etc.) legally established by long usage. DERIVATIVES prescriptivism noun prescriptivist noun & adjective. ORIGIN Latin praescriptivus relating to a legal… …   English terms dictionary

  • prescriptive — [prē skrip′tiv, priskrip′tiv] adj. [LL praescriptivus] 1. that prescribes 2. based on legal prescription 3. prescribed by custom or long use prescriptively adv …   English World dictionary

  • prescriptive — pre|scrip|tive [prıˈskrıptıv] adj 1.) saying how something should or must be done, or what should be done ▪ prescriptive teaching methods 2.) stating how a language should be used, rather than describing how it is used ≠ ↑descriptive ▪… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • prescriptive — [[t]prɪskrɪ̱ptɪv[/t]] ADJ GRADED A prescriptive approach to something involves telling people what they should do, rather than simply giving suggestions or describing what is done. [FORMAL] ...prescriptive attitudes to language on the part of… …   English dictionary

  • prescriptive — adjective 1 stating or ordering how something should be done or what someone should do: prescriptive teaching methods 2 technical stating how a language should be used, rather than describing how it is used: prescriptive grammar prescriptively… …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • prescriptive — adjective Date: 1748 1. serving to prescribe < prescriptive rules of usage > 2. acquired by, founded on, or determined by prescription or by long standing custom • prescriptively adverb …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • prescriptive — prescriptively, adv. prescriptiveness, n. /pri skrip tiv/, adj. 1. that prescribes; giving directions or injunctions: a prescriptive letter from an anxious father. 2. depending on or arising from effective legal prescription, as a right or title… …   Universalium