Pronunciation: proh-skrahyb

Have you ever been proscribed, that is forbid/banned from doing something? Like going out for a late-night movie or party? This must have happened a lot of times actually. Proscribe means to ban something and not allow it to happen. And it comes from the Latin root for writing. Yes, it is. How? Read below.

Origin of the word Proscribe:
Proscribe comes from the Latin word prscrbere, which meant ‘to put up someone’s name as outlawed’. This is further a combination of pro, which means in front; + scribe, which means to write. Effectively, it was a word used to banish an exile/outlaw publically.

This word does provide us with one useful root: scribe, meaning to write. A few logical connections can be made with this root and we can learn the following as well:

  1. Circumscribe: To draw/write a line around; to encompass with (or as with) a bounding line, to form the boundary of, to bound. Effectively combining circum with scribe,, that is in laymen terms, a circle that is drawn as a boundary. Cannot remember circum? Look up circumference, you would know for sure.
  2. Conscribe means To enroll, levy (an army); to enlist (a soldier), that is to write down one’s name in the list of soldiers.
  3. Ascribe means to write into; to add to a writing, register, list, etc.  or to annex or to add in writing;to subscribe. As an extension, ascribe is also used to refer to a supposed cause, source, or author; assign (transfer to someone else in writing); attribute (naturally belonging to a thing or person).

Two scribe words that need to be looked by you:

  1. Inscribe
  2. Prescribe

Proscribe has the following definitions:
1. To denounce or condemn.
2. To prohibit; forbid.
3. a. To banish or outlaw (a person).
b. To publish the name of (a person) as outlawed.

Usage Examples for Proscribe:
1. No government can proscribe the rights of the citizens.
2. It is unconstitutional for the administration to proscribe the method of protest when it is absolutely peaceful.

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