Definition of ascribe in English:


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transitive verb

[with object]ascribe something to
  • 1Attribute something to (a cause)

    ‘he ascribed Jane's short temper to her upset stomach’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘This derives from a study that says just the opposite, ascribing the mortality figure to physical inactivity, risky weight-loss processes and poor diet.’
    • ‘As long as a believer ascribes his views to his faith, he can say anything he wants and if you don't like it, you're the bigot.’
    • ‘The 39-year-old businessman ascribes his career to his exploratory spirit and wise management.’
    • ‘Cynthia ascribes his behaviour to his upbringing.’
    • ‘She now involves an assistant who understands what she wants, though she still ascribes the results to chance.’
    • ‘He partly ascribed the problems to a shortage of skills at municipal level in treating drinking water and waste water.’
    • ‘Yet the two reporters ascribed the development to rural poverty.’
    • ‘He ascribed the poor results to poverty and the lack of resources at most schools.’
    • ‘Many people in the department ascribe his odd behaviour to drunkenness and encroaching senility.’
    • ‘In Avalonia this last period is ascribed to a rift or wrench regime.’
    • ‘In 1926 Brown published a paper in which he ascribed these fluctuations to irregular changes in the Earth's period of rotation which has subsequently proved correct.’
    • ‘In addition, in ascribing such influence to church outreach your reader implicitly assumes that the poor in New Orleans are organized around effective, cohesive religious and ethnic communities.’
    • ‘The AP obituary says it was lung cancer and ascribes the disease to his smoking history, both of which I think are incorrect.’
    • ‘Ex-radicals usually ascribe their evolution to the inevitable giving way of idealistic youth to responsible maturity.’
    attribute, assign, put down, set down, accredit, credit, give the credit for, chalk up, impute
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    1. 1.1usually be ascribed toAttribute (a text, quotation, or work of art) to a particular person or period.
      • ‘a quotation ascribed to Thomas Cooper’
      attribute, assign, put down, set down, accredit, credit, give the credit for, chalk up, impute
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    2. 1.2usually be ascribed toRegard a quality as belonging to.
      ‘tough-mindedness is a quality commonly ascribed to top bosses’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Would your workers ascribe these qualities to you?’
      • ‘In time, both prescriptive and normative qualities were ascribed to classical decision theory.’
      • ‘The same mistake would be made in ascribing those attributes to the foundation.’
      • ‘Around the world, people ascribe god-like attributes to lightning, rivers or even old buildings.’
      • ‘I am quite sure that no blame can be ascribed to Islington in that regard.’
      • ‘One wonders if they ascribed a healing power to the paintings themselves.’
      • ‘I don't want to ascribe human reactions to my dog, because that spoils the joy of seeing things from a dog perspective.’
      • ‘It would be nice to ascribe these ravings to a past generation, except I'm pretty sure her son, who lives in a cosmopolitan city, thinks the same way.’
      • ‘When this axiom is applied to the chart of the readings of the three versions above, it will be seen that there are good grounds for ascribing the originality to the Masoretic Text.’
      • ‘Thus, for me, semiotics suggested that you could not ascribe universal values to literary texts.’
      • ‘As a disciplined believer, Witwer sees the danger of ascribing holy attributes to a man-made creation, but at the same time understands that it signals the potential for divine jurisprudence.’
      • ‘Various authors have indicated that the dehumanization of others by means of ascribing animal attributes to them is a way to legitimize their exploitation and their exclusion from civilized society.’
      • ‘It's ascribing sinister motives to the FBI before anything remotely akin to that has been proven.’
      • ‘We stopped ascribing any value to integration, and began flirting with the notion that host countries aren't legitimate entities with their own cultures, only political frameworks for various co-existing cultures.’
      • ‘The Qur'an itself legitimizes the existence of tribes and peoples without ascribing any superiority to one group over the other.’
      • ‘The important point is that all peoples have reacted to memories of the flood in the same way - by ascribing some fault to human beings; and one can see why this is so psychologically satisfying.’
      • ‘On one hand, there is a position that ascribes a narrow meaning to the definition of ‘associated entity’ often through strained interpretation and flawed logic.’
      • ‘However, it requires that we ascribe interests to entities that are unable to suffer any pain or frustration if their so-called interests are not met.’
      • ‘As a result, we not only treat these animals in ridiculous ways, but ascribe rights to them modelled on our own.’
      • ‘Culture and religion ascribe subservient roles to females.’
      • ‘But I bristle when a show expects I'll ascribe salutary characteristics to someone because of their sexuality; it's as silly as automatically assuming negative characteristics.’
      lay, pin, place, impose, fix
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/əˈskrīb/ /əˈskraɪb/


Middle English from Latin ascribere, from ad- ‘to’ + scribere ‘write’.