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praescriptĭo, ōnis, f. [praescribo].

I. A writing before or in front, a prefixing in writing; hence, meton., a title, inscription, preface, introduction, commencement: praescriptio legis, Cic. Agr. 2, 9, 22: tribuniciae potestatis, Tac. A. 1, 7.—

II. Trop.

A. A pretext, excuse, pretence: ut honestā praescriptione rem turpissimam tegerent, Caes. B. C. 3, 32.—

B. A precept, order, rule, law: dummodo illa praescriptio moderatioque teneatur, Cic. Cael. 18, 42: hanc normam, hanc regulam, hanc praescriptionem esse naturae, a quā, etc., id. Ac. 2, 46, 140: rationis, id. Tusc. 4, 9, 22: in hac praescriptione semi-horae, id. Rab. Perd. 2, 6: sine praescriptione generis aut numeri, without previous limitation, Tac. A. 6, 15.—

C. In law, an exception, objection, demurrer: aut intentio, aut praescriptio habet controversiam, Quint. 7, 5, 2: praescriptionem alicui opponere, Dig. 44, tit. 1, 11.—

2. Esp., a limitation of the subject-matter in a suit, by a form of words: praescriptiones autem appellatas ab eo, quod ante formulas praescribuntur, Gai. Inst. 4, 132; cf. id. ib. 4, 130 sqq.—

D. Transf., a philosophical objection, a subtlety, sophism: exceptiones et praescriptiones philosophorum, Sen. Ep. 48, 12.—

E. Limitation as to time, prescription, Dig. 18, 1, 76.