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What does the word prescriptive mean, as used in 18th century?

  1. Feb 11, 2013 #1
    What does the word "prescriptive" mean, as used in 18th century?

    What does the word "prescriptive" mean, as used in 18th century? (if there is any difference from how its used today that is)

    the context is "The Poet, of whose works I have undertaken the revision, may now begin to assume the dignity of an ancient, and claim the privilege of established fame and prescriptive veneration. "

    I get the general meaning of the sentence, but precisely what does he (samuel johnson) mean when he says prespective veneration, (as opposed to just plain veneration)?

    Also, what word would we use today that means basically the same thing?
    thanks for any help
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 11, 2013 #2

    AlephZero

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  4. Feb 11, 2013 #3
    Re: What does the word "prescriptive" mean, as used in 18th century?

    I googled prescriptive veneration and the first hit was a link with the meaning.
     
  5. Feb 11, 2013 #4
    Re: What does the word "prescriptive" mean, as used in 18th century?

    "Prescriptive" is the adjectival form of "prescription," so his meaning should be clearer by looking up the latter word:

    Definition of PRESCRIPTION

    1a : the establishment of a claim of title to something under common law usually by use and enjoyment for a period fixed by statute
    b : the right or title acquired under common law by such possession

    2: the process of making claim to something by long use and enjoyment

    3: the action of laying down authoritative rules or directions

    4a : a written direction for a therapeutic or corrective agent; specifically : one for the preparation and use of a medicine
    b : a prescribed medicine
    c : something (as a recommendation) resembling a doctor's prescription <prescriptions for economic recovery>

    5a : ancient or long continued custom
    b : a claim founded upon ancient custom or long continued use

    6: something prescribed as a rule

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/prescription

    I think 5 a and b most closely fit Johnson's context.
     
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