as·​sert | \ ə-ˈsərt How to pronounce assert (audio) , 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
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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Other Words from assert

assertible \ ə-​ˈsər-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce assertible (audio) , a-​ \ adjective
an assertible defense

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 Because of these norms, widows often struggle to do business or assert themselves as legal guardians of their children without a man present. Lindsey Mcginnis, The Christian Science Monitor, "Points of Progress: Reforestation project smashes goal, and more," 18 Sep. 2020 Now the junior is looking to assert himself as the fourth receiver behind the productive veteran trio of Seth Williams, Anthony Schwartz and Eli Stove. Tom Green |, al, "Shedrick Jackson’s role for Auburn evolving with ‘overall’ growth as receiver," 16 Sep. 2020 In a country of war and widows, women struggle to assert themselves as legal guardians of their children in government offices or carry out business transactions in their own names without the presence of a man. Najim Rahim, New York Times, "After Afghan Women Asked #WhereIsMyName, a Small Victory," 2 Sep. 2020 Smith and Trumbetti, who had patrons line up with social distancing for pre-workout temperature checks on Saturday, assert the gym is taking adequate measures to protect public health. Jim Walsh, USA TODAY, "New Jersey gym owners defy pandemic orders, break into business closed by state and reopen," 2 Aug. 2020 But Trump can only assert powers that Congress has specifically given him. Mark Sherman, The Denver Post, "States largely have authority over when to shut down, reopen amid coronavirus pandemic," 1 Apr. 2020 Typically, physicists will not assert a discovery has been made until a result’s statistical significance reaches five sigma (in this case, a one-in-1.7-million chance). Daniel Garisto, Scientific American, "Possibility of Dark Bosons Entices Physicists," 30 Sep. 2020 Three lawsuits assert that Prospect committed Medicare fraud at one of its facilities. Peter Elkind, ProPublica, "Investors Extracted $400 Million From a Hospital Chain That Sometimes Couldn’t Pay for Medical Supplies or Gas for Ambulances," 30 Sep. 2020 But Yanomami leaders—and groups that advocate for Brazil’s Indigenous peoples—assert that 20,000 gold miners have invaded the territory and carried the virus. Luciana Magalhaes, WSJ, "Coronavirus Spreads Deep Into the Amazon, Imperiling an Ancient Tribe," 27 Sep. 2020

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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Time Traveler for assert

Time Traveler

The first known use of assert was circa 1604

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Statistics for assert

Last Updated

16 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Assert.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for assert


How to pronounce assert (audio)

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 How to pronounce assert (audio) \
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 How to pronounce assert (audio) \

Legal Definition of assert

: to present and demand recognition of assert a claim

Other Words from assert

assertion \ ə-​ˈsər-​shən How to pronounce assertion (audio) \ noun

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Comments on assert

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