as·sert | \ ə-ˈsərt , a- \
asserted; asserting; asserts

Definition of assert 

transitive verb

1a : to state or declare positively and often forcefully or aggressively The suspect continued to assert his innocence.

b : 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

2a : to demonstrate the existence of He wished to vindicate himself in some way, to assert his manhood. —James Joyce

b : posit, postulate

assert oneself

1 : 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

2 : 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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Several incidents, including one at a coffee shop and another at a swimming pool, seem to show white people asserting privilege over people of color. Ted Slowik, Daily Southtown, "Slowik: Trump, race and why it seems like a hate-fueled confrontation might happen anywhere, anytime," 12 July 2018 And some, looking at the partisan chaos in the US through the prism of Russian political culture, see signs that Trump is finally whipping his rivals into line and asserting his will as a strong president should. Fred Weir, The Christian Science Monitor, "Upcoming Trump-Putin summit gives Russians hope for US thaw," 3 July 2018 That might be because of wine — TMG asserts in its countersuit that Depp has a compulsory spending habit that revolves largely around wine. Rebecca Farley,, "Johnny Depp Changed His Amber Heard Tattoo From "Slim" To "Scum"," 21 June 2018 There is no other force, there is no other party, there is no other real ideology out there right now that is asserting the minimum elements necessary to lead a dignified American life. Bridget Read, Vogue, "28-Year-Old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Might Just Be the Future of the Democratic Party," 25 June 2018 In their complaints, the parents assert that all eight grades of Access Academy could co-locate at da Vinci Arts if its incoming class of sixth graders were substantially reduced. Bethany Barnes,, "Complaint: Access Academy students who need alternative education given short shrift," 26 Apr. 2018 In an eight-page memo released 26 March, Ross asserted there was no evidence supporting the critics’ claim that the new question would result in depressed response rates or a sizable undercount, citing several unnamed experts. Jeffrey Mervis, Science | AAAS, "Trump officials claim they can avoid 2020 census problems caused by controversial citizenship question. Experts are very skeptical," 13 Apr. 2018 In the opening brief, Green and Engle assert that: The over-the-top media coverage, including livestreaming the initial trial, denied Arias a fair trial and an impartial jury. Michael Kiefer, azcentral, "First look: Jodi Arias' defense attorneys file 342-page brief in conviction appeal," 6 July 2018 In a separate tweet, the White House account asserted that Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts was ‘‘supporting criminals moving weapons, drugs, and victims’’ across the border., "Watchdog groups complain about White House Twitter account," 4 July 2018

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

circa 1604, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for assert

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

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Phrases Related to assert

assert itself

Statistics for assert

Last Updated

7 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for assert

The first known use of assert was circa 1604

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More Definitions for assert



English Language Learners Definition of assert

: to state (something) in a strong and definite way

: to demand that other people accept or respect (something)


as·sert | \ ə-ˈsərt \
asserted; asserting

Kids Definition of assert

1 : to state clearly and strongly assert an opinion

2 : to make others aware of assert your independence

3 : to speak or act in a way that demands attention or recognition If you want people to listen, you have to assert yourself.

as·sert | \ ə-ˈsərt \

Legal Definition of assert 

: to present and demand recognition of assert a claim

Other words from assert

assertion \ə-ˈsər-shən \ noun

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Comments on assert

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


to make amends

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