Definition of ascription in English:

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Pronunciation: /əˈskripSH(ə)n/


1The attribution of something to a cause: an ascription of effect to cause
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  • Given this discrepancy, solution may be elusive, and ascription of the patterns to a pervasive pathology whose outbreaks are unpredictable makes sense.
  • Less often are we aware of the privileges accorded us by affiliation and ascription; I did get a job interview, a grant, a publication offer because of my academic pedigree, my identity, or both.
  • The hundreds of texts on this theme contain two main elements: the description of the experience; and its ascription to the nightmare.
1.1The attribution of a text, quotation, or work of art to a particular person or period: her ascription of the text to Boccaccio questions of authorial ascription
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  • There are excellent reasons for maintaining the traditional ascriptions of Gospel authorship, when standard tests for such determinations are applied;
  • All four, however, lack ascriptions, and presumably their composer's name was omitted simply because Nathaniel saw no need to write it out.
  • However, the style of the ascriptions of works to Philips in the section devoted to instrumental works may be an important clue in support of the hypothesis.
1.2The action of regarding a quality as belonging to someone or something: the author’s ascription of human attributes to his hero or villain
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  • Just as we do with other humans, introspective experience allows ascription of similar mentality to other species.
  • The ascription of such powerlessness has been part of an assault on institutions by social scientists, among others.
  • Knowledge of the law is hardly an appropriate test on which to base ascription of responsibility to the mentally disordered.
1.3A preacher’s words ascribing praise to God at the end of a sermon.
Example sentences
  • This ascription of praise to ‘Our Father ‘is found in 491 out of 500 existing manuscripts.’
  • Even when the trinitarian ascription of praise is not used, ‘forever’ ends prayers.
  • Reaching us, every human being must grasp our hands, amid exclamations of ‘Bress you, mas'r,’ and ‘Bress de Lord,’ at the rate of four of the latter ascriptions to one of the former.


Late 16th century: from Latin ascriptio(n-), from the verb ascribere (see ascribe).

Words that rhyme with ascription

circumscription, conscription, decryption, description, Egyptian, encryption, inscription, misdescription, prescription, subscription, superscription, transcription

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: as·crip·tion

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