Definition of proscribe in English:



  • 1Forbid, especially by law.

    ‘strikes remained proscribed in the armed forces’
    • ‘There are numbers of organisations that have been proscribed.’
    • ‘The ‘Goldwater’ rule already proscribes specific comments about public figures or others who have not actually been evaluated.’
    • ‘Songs of a politically critical character are proscribed.’
    • ‘Few deputies positively welcomed the purge of national representatives, and a number who had no special links with the proscribed deputies went out of their way to condemn the deed openly in letters to their constituents.’
    • ‘The former clause proscribed anyone from aiding the practice of prostitution, while the latter required the police to arrest and medically examine suspected prostitutes.’
    • ‘We have not ruled out proscribing this organisation.’
    • ‘When someone dies, we are proscribed from desecrating the body, which includes invasion of the corpse.’
    • ‘‘If you proscribe an organisation, you strengthen it’, he said.’
    • ‘The rule of law proscribes ex post facto legislation.’
    • ‘Among the draconian penal laws is Law 71 which states that anyone ‘who calls for the establishment of any grouping, organisation or association proscribed by law’ can be executed.’
    • ‘Last week the government released a list of 15 proscribed organisations.’
    • ‘Although advertising directly to consumers is proscribed in the European Union, companies are able to target patients indirectly through disease awareness campaigns, sponsorship of information materials, and press releases.’
    • ‘The power to proscribe organisations should be vested in more than an individual (the Attorney General) and representatives from banned organisations should have adequate rights of appeal.’
    • ‘She should have been stopped in her tracks for purporting to answer the question when, in fact, she is saying that I am proscribed from even asking a question about this man, the evidence on whom I gave last week.’
    • ‘The Bill is unnecessary simply because the government presently has the power to proscribe terrorist organisations.’
    • ‘Current rules proscribe relationships between soldiers of different rank, or soldiers and officers.’
    • ‘Others object because they feel the Bible proscribes invoking god while making an oath.’
    • ‘Jewish law states that not only is telling gossip forbidden; lending a willing ear is equally proscribed.’
    • ‘Using this definition, the attorney-general could proscribe any group that organises a demonstration or strike in which a person was injured or felt endangered.’
    • ‘It is conceivable that this identifier alone could alarm the Attorney General enough to proscribe the organisation.’
    forbid, prohibit, ban, bar, disallow, rule out, embargo, veto, make illegal, interdict, outlaw, taboo
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    1. 1.1 Denounce or condemn.
      ‘certain practices that the Catholic Church proscribed, such as polygyny’
      • ‘International criminal law is a body of international rules designed both to proscribe international crimes and to impose upon States the obligation to prosecute and punish at least some of those crimes.’
      • ‘They were proscribed following an attack on one of Buddhism's most hallowed places of worship.’
      • ‘While its advocates are careful to point out that they are not proscribing reasoned criticism of specific policies, their arguments tend, in practice, to serve as a warning to those who make them.’
      condemn, denounce, attack, criticize, censure, denigrate, damn, reject
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    2. 1.2historical Outlaw (someone)
      • ‘But this project went unrealized, and after Caesar's assassination he was proscribed by Mark Antony: his library at Casinum was plundered, but he escaped to live the rest of his life in scholarly retirement.’
      • ‘If we were proscribed we would go underground, and anything that's underground surfaces.’
      • ‘And, as both of them are deeply committed to their religious beliefs, when I was virtually proscribed for my decision by the church leadership they felt it necessary to follow suit.’
      outlaw, boycott, black, blackball, exclude, ostracize
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Proscribe does not have the same meaning as prescribe: see prescribe


Late Middle English (in the sense ‘to outlaw’): from Latin proscribere, from pro- ‘in front of’ + scribere ‘write’.