Definition of prescriptive adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//prɪˈskrɪptɪv//
    ; NAmE NAmE//prɪˈskrɪptɪv//
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  1. 1(formal) telling people what should be done prescriptive methods of teaching
  2. 2(linguistics) telling people how a language should be used, rather than describing how it is used a prescriptive grammar of English opposite descriptive
  3. 3(specialist) (of rights and institutions) made legal or acceptable because they have existed for a long time prescriptive powers
  4. Word Originmid 18th cent.: from late Latin praescriptivus ‘relating to a legal exception’, from praescript- ‘directed in writing’, from the verb praescribere ‘direct in writing’, from prae ‘before’ + scribere ‘write’.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: prescriptive