ascribed status

(noun) A status assigned at birth or assumed involuntarily later in life, that cannot be changed through individual effort or achievement.

Example: ethnicity, gender, and sex.

Audio Pronunciation: (as·cribed stat·us)

Download Audio Pronunciation: ascribed status.mp3

Usage Notes:

  • Plural: ascribed statuses
  • Coined by Ralph Linton (1893–1953) in The Study of Man: An Introduction (1936).
  • Ascribed statuses are often master statuses.
  • Achieved status is the opposite of ascribed status.
  • Ascribed statuses such as ethnicity and gender directly impact the likelihood of acquiring achieved statuses due to inequality and oppression.
  • Also called:
    • ascribed role
    • ascribed status
    • ascribed trait
    • ascription
  • Ascribed status used in a sentence: Marsha was born with two ascribed statuses; she is African-American and a woman.

Related Terms: