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Prescriptive refers to the nature of a statement that prescribes or recommends how things ought to be. A prescriptive theory is one that says how people or things should function, as opposed to how they actually do.

In property law, a party could seek a prescriptive easement to acquire an owner’s land.

See also: descriptive (contrast).

[Last updated in December of 2023 by the Wex Definitions Team]