2. If a person or set of laws or rules prescribes an action or duty, they state that it must be carried out. (FORMAL)
- ...article II of the constitution, which prescribes the method of electing a president...
- Alliott told Singleton he was passing the sentence prescribed by law.
verb [T] FORMAL △to tell someone what they must have or do; to give something as a rule:
- Penalties for not paying taxes are prescribed by law.
- [+ that] The law prescribes that all children must go to school.
- [+ question word] Grammatical rules prescribe how words may be used together.
▷ prescribed. adj:
- The product will have to meet internationally prescribed (= demanded) standards.
▷ prescription. noun [C or U] FORMAL △when someone says what someone else must have or do:
- So what is his prescription for success?
▷ prescriptive. adj. FORMAL MAINLY DISAPPROVING △saying exactly what must happen, especially by giving an instruction or making a rule:
- Most teachers think the government's guidelines on homework are too prescriptive.
CF. prescribe(1) (GIVE MEDICAL TREATMENT)
■ prescriptive. adj.
△ 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 teachers...
- The psychologists insist, however, that they are not being prescriptive.
- making or giving directions, rules, or injunctions
- sanctioned by long-standing usage or custom
- derived from or based upon legal prescription: ex) a prescriptive title
- saying how something should or must be done, or what should be done: ex) prescriptive teaching methods
- stating how a language should be used, rather than describing how it is used (≠ descriptive) : ex) prescriptive grammar
- prescriptive right: BrE. law. a right that has existed for so long that it is as effective as a law
..... COBUILD, COLLINS, LDOCE