Are "write out a prescription" and "make out a prescription" used more or less interchangeably?

3 Answers 3


Yes, they are, though "write out a prescription" is more common, as evidenced by a Google search and an Ngram graph.


Yes, although be careful - "make up a prescription" would be to supply the drugs listed on it.

Once upon a time it would be to actually make up, i.e. produce, the medicine required in the pharmacy - now of course it's just to sell the correct boxes of pills.

  • +1, but there are still "compounding pharmacies" that will actually produce the medicine in proper form or mixture. Your average Walgreens, CVS or Rite-Aid, however, do much as you describe; they count out the prescribed number of the correct pill into a bottle and hand it to you.
    – KeithS
    Jul 12, 2011 at 15:49


"Write out" carries more of a connotation of the physical act of marking a scrip sheet, whereas "make out" gestures a bit more toward the possibly metaphysical act of bestowing the prescription itself.

(I would say that's a slim enough shade of difference to be considered 'interchangeable')

  • I wouldn't even go as far as to say that there is a difference. In all cases, you have to "write out" the prescription in order to "make out" the prescription.
    – Daniel
    Jul 11, 2011 at 12:09
  • I dunno, don't they have digital prescriptions in some civilized countries? Jul 11, 2011 at 12:13
  • Even there, the difference isn't between physically"marking" and metaphysically "bestowing".
    – Daniel
    Jul 11, 2011 at 12:15

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