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verb as·sess \ə-ˈses, a-\

Simple Definition of assess

  • : to make a judgment about (something)

  • : to officially say what the amount, value, or rate of (something) is

  • : to tax or charge (someone or something) : to require (a person, business, etc.) to pay a particular amount of money

Full Definition of assess

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to determine the rate or amount of (as a tax)

  3. 2 a :  to impose (as a tax) according to an established rate b :  to subject to a tax, charge, or levy

  4. 3 :  to make an official valuation of (property) for the purposes of taxation

  5. 4 :  to determine the importance, size, or value of <assess a problem>

  6. 5 :  to charge (a player or team) with a foul or penalty

as·sess·able play \-ˈse-sə-bəl\ adjective

Examples of assess

  1. Cornell graduate student James Tanner spent three years in the early 1940s slogging southern swamps and bayous to assess where and how the species could be saved. By his reckoning, no more than twenty-four ivory-bills remained in the entire Southeast. —John Terborgh, New York Review of Books, 26 Apr. 2007

  2. When the training staff determined that Everett had no mobility below his neck, Cappuccino was waved onto the field. He performed a quick battery of tests to assess the severity of the injury, squeezing various parts of Everett's body and asking him to respond. —Tim Layden, Sports Illustrated, 17 Dec. 2007

  3. Tetlock found that his experts used a double standard: they were much tougher in assessing the validity of information that undercut their theory than they were in crediting information that supported it. —Louis Menand, New Yorker, 5 Dec. 2005

  4. Briefly, the way it works is this. Every time a hog is sold, the seller is assessed 40 cents per $100 of sale value to promote the consumption of pork. —Warren R. Ross, UU World, Fall 2005

  5. After the hurricane, officials assessed the town's need for aid.

  6. We need to assess whether or not the system is working.

  7. Damage to the boat was assessed at $5,000.

  8. The company was assessed $12 million in fines for polluting the river.

Origin of assess

Middle English, probably from Medieval Latin assessus, past participle of assidēre, from Latin, to sit beside, assist in the office of a judge — more at assize

First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of assess

estimate, appraise, evaluate, value, rate, assess mean to judge something with respect to its worth or significance. estimate implies a judgment, considered or casual, that precedes or takes the place of actual measuring or counting or testing out <estimated the crowd at two hundred>. appraise commonly implies the fixing by an expert of the monetary worth of a thing, but it may be used of any critical judgment <having their house appraised>. evaluate suggests an attempt to determine relative or intrinsic worth in terms other than monetary <evaluate a student's work>. value equals appraise but without implying expertness of judgment <a watercolor valued by the donor at $500>. rate adds to estimate the notion of placing a thing according to a scale of values <a highly rated restaurant>. assess implies a critical appraisal for the purpose of understanding or interpreting, or as a guide in taking action <officials are trying to assess the damage>.

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February 10, 2016

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