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I'm wondering about the usage of the words conscript and conscribe in terms of the meaning they share.

I went to use the word conscripted as in "conscripted for duty", and the word conscribe also came to mind, and I wasn't sure which to use. Looking around it seems like conscribe isn't used much and isn't in all dictionaries. Is it an outdated version of the same word from Latin?

Also, what about the preposition? I see instances of both "conscripted into" and "conscripted for" in Google results. Is there a difference?

  • Conscript reporting! – RiMMER Jun 24 '11 at 21:06
  • I'd never even heard conscribe before but I think it's great. I'm going to ditch conscript (as a verb anyway, it also means "draftee"). – Malvolio Jun 24 '11 at 21:19
  • @Malvolio - It has a noble history too: the Roman Senate were called "Conscript Fathers"... – MT_Head Jun 25 '11 at 5:42
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As to the main point of your question, you should use 'conscript', since 'conscribe' actually has two meanings, and is not nearly as common. (This spell checker doesn't even recognize it!)

The preposition could be equally either. 'Conscripted into the army' makes just as much grammatical sense as 'conscripted for the army', although the latter puts a slightly higher emphasis on the 'army' than does the former; just because 'for' is more of a Preposition Of Interest, and draws one's attention to its object more than 'into' might.

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