Share this entry

ascribe Syllabification: as·cribe
Pronunciation: /əˈskrīb/

Definition of ascribe in English:


[with object] (ascribe something to)
1Attribute something to (a cause): he ascribed Jane’s short temper to her upset stomach
More example sentences
  • The substantial increase in the navy in this period is ascribed to him.
  • Any half-wit, by the simple device of ascribing his delusions to revelation, takes on an authority that is denied to all the rest of us.
  • Have you noticed how each of us is guilty of ascribing motives to other people's actions, yet so often get it wrong?
attribute to, assign to, put down to, accredit to, credit to, chalk up to, impute to;
blame on, lay at the door of;
connect with, associate with
1.1 (usually be ascribed to) Attribute (a text, quotation, or work of art) to a particular person or period: a quotation ascribed to Thomas Cooper
1.2 (usually be ascribed to) Regard (a quality) as belonging to: tough-mindedness is a quality commonly ascribed to top bosses
More example sentences
  • I still think that mischievous, but not nearly as vile as ascribing messianic qualities to a single man.
  • There is no foundation for ascribing an energetic quality to a crystal simply because it has a particular appearance, colour or name.
  • The author, unfortunately, often ascribes human qualities to viruses, whereas he knows that survival depends on a high rate of replication and mutation to provide candidates to fit the challenge of the ever changing environment.


Middle English: from Latin ascribere, from ad- 'to' + scribere 'write'.



Example sentences
  • Legislators make speeches, attend committee meetings, cast votes and leave a paper trail of positions taken and poses struck, mostly without consequences clearly ascribable to them as individuals.
  • The problem with trouser suits is that despite their democratic appeal, they lack the universal qualities ascribable to men's tailoring.
  • The similar level of satisfaction in our two study groups may be ascribable to this difference, as the family doctors may have compensated for any shortcomings related to the junior physicians' inexperience.

Words that rhyme with ascribe

bribe, gybe, imbibe, jibe, proscribe, scribe, subscribe, transcribe, tribe, vibe

Definition of ascribe in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day whippersnapper
Pronunciation: ˈ(h)wipərˌsnapər
a young, inexperienced person considered presumptuous or overconfident...