as·​sess·​ment | \ ə-ˈses-mənt How to pronounce assessment (audio) , a-\

Definition of assessment

1 : the action or an instance of making a judgment about something : the act of assessing something : appraisal assessment of damages an assessment of the president's achievements
2 : the amount assessed : an amount that a person is officially required to pay especially as a tax the tax assessment on property

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Synonyms for assessment


duty, imposition, impost, levy, tax

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History of Assessment

Assessment has two meanings (“an amount that a person is officially required to pay” and “the act of making a judgment about something”) so distinct that one might rightfully wonder if they come from different sources. They do not.

Both are derived from related senses of assess, a verb that for over 500 years has meant “to determine the rate or amount of (a tax).” The monetary sense of assessment is tied to this oldest use of assess. By the 19th century, the verb’s object shifted slightly to produce a new meaning, “to make an official valuation of (property) for the purposes of taxation.” It was but a short step from here to the broadened sense “to make a judgment about” that is the basis of assessment “the act of making a judgment.”

Examples of assessment in a Sentence

It's a difficult problem that requires careful assessment. I don't agree with his assessment of the problem. The owners claimed the tax assessment on their house was too high.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Government agencies were conducting damage assessments and beginning to clear roads, according to the Pacific Daily News. Fox News, "Philippines starts evacuations as powerful typhoon closes in," 13 Sep. 2018 According to the company's website, the Lurvig collection was designed with the assistance of veterinarian Dr. Barbara Schäfer, who works with product risk assessment at IKEA. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "IKEA Recalls 16,700 Pet Water Dispensers After 2 Dogs Die," 13 July 2018 While at Nevada, Barrio created an academic risk assessment process that helped the school earn a perfect 1000 progress rate score in men’s basketball and football. Kelli Stacy,, "Central Connecticut State University Names New Athletic Director," 12 July 2018 Following that assault, a survey of safety plans at 227 schools found that about 70 percent had some form of threat assessment program. Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY, "Secret Service urges U.S. schools to set up 'threat teams' to prevent shootings," 12 July 2018 More than $14 million will be provided to hundreds of schools across the state for school resource officers, safety equipment and threat assessment. Arika Herron, Indianapolis Star, "Indiana schools can get handheld metal detectors for free through new state safety program," 9 July 2018 The bill stipulates, in part, a pretrial risk assessment to be conducted for each defendant within six hours of arrest. Rebecca Sun, The Hollywood Reporter, "Dulé Hill on Bail Reform: "There Has to Be a More Equitable Process" (Exclusive Video)," 18 June 2018 In a phone call after the governor declared a state of disaster, George said the main role of the National Guard and State Police were going to be damage assessment. Marc Daalder, Detroit Free Press, "Gov. Snyder declares 'state of disaster' for 2 U.P. counties," 18 June 2018 Then, a school counselor, the principal or a nurse will be called in to conduct a suicide risk assessment. Sarah Ravani,, "San Mateo County schools step up suicide prevention efforts," 18 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'assessment.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of assessment

1534, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for assessment

see assess

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Statistics for assessment

Last Updated

12 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for assessment

The first known use of assessment was in 1534

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Comments on assessment

What made you want to look up assessment? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

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