Ascription – Definition & Meaning

Ascription is a term that is used to describe the act of attributing a certain quality or characteristic to someone or something. It is a common practice in various fields, including sociology, psychology, and philosophy. Ascription can have a significant impact on how people perceive and interact with one another, making it an important concept to understand.


Ascription can be defined as the assignment of a particular quality, characteristic, or status to a person or thing. It is often used in the context of social identity, where individuals are assigned certain traits based on their race, gender, or other social factors. Ascription can also refer to the attribution of responsibility or blame for a particular action or outcome.


The word “ascription” comes from the Latin word “ascribere,” which means “to write on.” The term has been used in English since the 17th century and has been used in various contexts throughout history.

Meaning in different dictionaries

According to Merriam-Webster, ascription is “the act of attributing something to a particular cause, source, or origin.” Oxford Dictionary defines it as “the attribution of something to a cause or source.” Collins Dictionary describes it as “the act of ascribing or attributing something to a particular source or cause.”


Ascription is often associated with social identity and the assignment of traits based on factors such as race, gender, or social class. It can also be associated with the attribution of responsibility or blame for a particular action or outcome.


Some synonyms for ascription include attribution, assignment, imputation, and allocation.


Antonyms of ascription include disavowal, denial, and repudiation.

The same root words

The root word of ascription is “scribe,” which means “to write.” Other words that share this root include prescribe, describe, and manuscript.

Example Sentences

  1. The ascription of certain traits to individuals based on their race or gender is a common practice in society.
  2. The ascription of blame for the company’s failure was disputed by the board of directors.
  3. The ascription of responsibility for the project’s success was attributed to the team’s hard work and dedication.
  4. The ascription of certain qualities to a work of art can greatly impact its perceived value.
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