ascertain

verb
as·​cer·​tain | \ ˌa-sər-ˈtān How to pronounce ascertain (audio) \
ascertained; ascertaining; ascertains

Definition of ascertain

transitive verb

1 : to find out or learn with certainty ascertain the truth trying to ascertain the cause of the fire information that can be easily ascertained on the Internet
2 archaic : to make certain, exact, or precise

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Other Words from ascertain

ascertainable \ ˌa-​sər-​ˈtā-​nə-​bəl How to pronounce ascertain (audio) \ adjective
ascertainment \ ˌa-​sər-​ˈtān-​mənt How to pronounce ascertain (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for ascertain

discover, ascertain, determine, unearth, learn mean to find out what one did not previously know. discover may apply to something requiring exploration or investigation or to a chance encounter. discovered the source of the river ascertain implies effort to find the facts or the truth proceeding from awareness of ignorance or uncertainty. attempts to ascertain the population of the region determine emphasizes the intent to establish the facts definitely or precisely. unable to determine the origin of the word unearth implies bringing to light something forgotten or hidden. unearth old records learn may imply acquiring knowledge with little effort or conscious intention (as by simply being told) or it may imply study and practice. I learned her name only today learning Greek

Examples of ascertain in a Sentence

We look at digital media—images, audio and video—and we try to ascertain whether or not they've been manipulated. We use mathematical and computational techniques to detect alterations in them. — Claudia Dreifus, New York Times, 2 Oct. 2007 Currently, an official trying to ascertain road damage in the aftermath of an earthquake might have to keep one eye on the TV news while listening to both radio traffic reports and the police scanner. Since most of these data are available in digital form, the software could take them all in, process them and present a report outlining the best evacuation routes. — Kevin Hogan, Technology Review, April 2002 With an equation linking the money wage to prices, the degree of inflation could be ascertained. — Sidney Weintraub, Modern Economic Thought, (1977) 1993
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Recent Examples on the Web Through a credit engine powered by advanced data analytics, the company can ascertain whether prospective tenants can pay the rent, removing the need for guarantees such as a deposit. Angelica Mari, Forbes, 28 May 2021 Even then, the Post could not ascertain exactly how the 17,000-mile figure was calculated. USA TODAY, 29 Apr. 2021 To ascertain the magnitude of this first big step Hutton speaks to experts who are not convinced by Markram’s claims. BostonGlobe.com, 22 Apr. 2021 The Washington Examiner was unable to ascertain specifically when the bounty offers had allegedly been made, but no U.S. troops have been killed in the country since February. Jerry Dunleavy, Washington Examiner, 30 Dec. 2020 Biden administration officials worked urgently Monday to ascertain the scope and fallout of a ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline, which supplies much of the eastern United States its gasoline. Zachary Cohen, Geneva Sands And Matt Egan, CNN, 10 May 2021 Knowing which data privacy laws and regulations to follow, in this scenario, is difficult to ascertain. Abdul Subhani, Forbes, 6 Apr. 2021 But did the Rams call the Packers to ascertain whether Rodgers was available? Los Angeles Times, 30 Apr. 2021 To ascertain whether there were safety problems in the buildings at the time of the fires, reporters requested fire and police reports for each incident. Cecilia Reyes, chicagotribune.com, 24 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ascertain.' 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 ascertain

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for ascertain

Middle English acertainen to inform, give assurance to, from Anglo-French acerteiner, from a- (from Latin ad-) + certein, certain certain

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Time Traveler for ascertain

Time Traveler

The first known use of ascertain was in the 15th century

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Statistics for ascertain

Last Updated

9 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ascertain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ascertain. Accessed 15 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for ascertain

ascertain

verb
as·​cer·​tain | \ ˌa-sər-ˈtān How to pronounce ascertain (audio) \
ascertained; ascertaining

Kids Definition of ascertain

: to find out with certainty Police tried to ascertain the cause of the accident.

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