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May 23 2020 23

Proscribe is a verb that means to forbid or condemn.

Our word of the day combines the prefix P-R-O, meaning ‘before’ with S-C-R-I-B-E, which means ‘to write.’

It referred to the fact that behavior that was forbidden or banned was ‘written down’ as law. More recently, the word has be used to describe behavior that is prohibited — even if the prohibition is not officially law. For example: The comedian proscribed the use of cell phones during his performance. Some may find this extreme, but in his case, banning cell phone use was the only way to ensure his shows weren’t illegally filmed.