a. The action of establishing a rule, law, or direction.
b. Something that is prescribed; a rule, law, or direction: prescriptions for living a moral life.
a. A written order, especially by a physician, for the preparation and administration of a medicine or other treatment.
b. A prescribed medicine or other treatment: Have you used up all of your prescription?
c. An ophthalmologist's or optometrist's written instruction, as for the grinding of corrective lenses.
3. Law The acquisition of an easement or of title to property by use or occupancy that exceeds the time allowed to another to recover it by statutory right.
[Middle English prescripcion, establishment of a claim, from Old French prescription, from Medieval Latin praescrīptiō, praescrīptiōn-, from Latin, introduction, precept, from praescrīptus, past participle of praescrībere, to order; see PRESCRIBE.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.