as·​sert ə-ˈsərt How to pronounce assert (audio)
asserted; asserting; asserts

transitive verb

: to state or declare positively and often forcefully or aggressively
The suspect continued to assert his innocence.
: to compel or demand acceptance or recognition of (something, such as one's authority)
… the confrontations that inevitably occur [between orangutans] when several males try to assert dominance …
Wallace asserted control early—shutting down both candidates when they tried to talk over one another, and shushing the audience when it reacted too audibly.Glenn Thrush
: to demonstrate the existence of
He wished to vindicate himself in some way, to assert his manhood.James Joyce
assertible adjective
an assertible defense
assert oneself
: to speak or act in a manner that compels recognition especially of one's rights
… she wants him to learn to assert himself with people in positions of authority.Malcolm Gladwell
… a long-suffering Irish community asserted itself by putting its own politicians in power.Ellis Cose
: to become more strongly apparent : to become clearly seen, known, or experienced
Unbidden, a glint asserts itself in Ms. Brown's eyes …Joanne Kaufman
… a passion that through its long suppression was now asserting itself with volcanic necessity.Zadie Smith
Choose the Right Synonym for assert

assert, declare, affirm, protest, avow mean to state positively usually in anticipation of denial or objection.

assert implies stating confidently without need for proof or regard for evidence.

asserted that modern music is just noise

declare stresses open or public statement.

declared her support for the candidate

affirm implies conviction based on evidence, experience, or faith.

affirmed the existence of an afterlife

protest emphasizes affirming in the face of denial or doubt.

protested that he really had been misquoted

avow stresses frank declaration and acknowledgment of personal responsibility for what is declared.

avowed that all investors would be repaid in full

synonyms see in addition maintain

Examples of assert in a Sentence

He asserted that there were spies in the government. She asserted her independence from her parents by getting her own apartment. The boss was reluctant to assert his authority over his employees.
Recent Examples on the Web For months, Texas has asserted that parts of the Rio Grande are not subject to federal laws protecting navigable waters. CBS News, 1 Dec. 2023 The complaint then asserts that the nurse failed to record the encounter in the jail medical file for several days. Jeff McDonald, San Diego Union-Tribune, 30 Nov. 2023 The union initially asserted that 3,200 students should be counted while USC says 2,700. USC also agreed to stronger protections for international students, including a fund to aid those who lose their visa status during their appointment. Teresa Watanabe, Los Angeles Times, 27 Nov. 2023 So, despite obvious monochromatic aspects, the day in Washington also asserted a sort of polychromatic nature. Martin Weil, Washington Post, 25 Nov. 2023 According to the court document, Doe is asserting claims pursuant to inter alia, New York common law for assault and battery; the New York City Victims of Gender-Motivated Violence Protection Act; and the New York City Human Rights Law. Steven J. Horowitz, Variety, 22 Nov. 2023 But before playing the part of Tigris, cousin of future Panem president Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth) and a stylist for tributes in The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (out now), Schafer had already asserted herself as a member of The Capitol years before her film debut. Michelle Lee, Peoplemag, 21 Nov. 2023 Another pattern asserts that people feel better when walls are thicker. Thomas Heatherwick, WSJ, 17 Nov. 2023 Veltman’s attorneys asserted that the attack was not premeditated and that he should be convicted of a lesser charge. Amanda Coletta, Washington Post, 16 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'assert.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin assertus, past participle of asserere, from ad- + serere to join — more at series

First Known Use

circa 1604, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of assert was circa 1604

Dictionary Entries Near assert

Cite this Entry

“Assert.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


as·​sert ə-ˈsərt How to pronounce assert (audio)
: to state clearly and strongly
: to make others aware of
assert your rights

Legal Definition


transitive verb
as·​sert ə-ˈsərt How to pronounce assert (audio)
: to present and demand recognition of
assert a claim
assertion noun

More from Merriam-Webster on assert

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