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

Abrams and other voting rights groups have asserted that these types of laws and Kemp himself are systematically suppressing the right to vote for black and minority voters to influence the election in Kemp's favor. Amanda Mitchell, Marie Claire, "107,000 Voters in Georgia Were Just Purged for a Ridiculous Reason," 19 Oct. 2018 But Democratic senators assert that a woman’s testimony should not be doubted regardless of its inconsistencies. Allysia Finley, WSJ, "The Senate’s Job Isn’t to Kill a Mockingbird," 3 Oct. 2018 But several Uighurs asserted that in many cases boarding school was now mandatory for minority children, even though Han Chinese children could choose to continue living at home. Yanan Wang And Dake Kang, Fox News, "China distances children from families to subdue Muslim west," 20 Sep. 2018 But conspiracy theorists assert Flight 93 was destroyed by a heat-seeking missile from an F-16 or a mysterious white plane. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "Debunking Myths About United Flight 93," 10 Sep. 2018 The government asserts that Pierce helped pass a rate increase and a beneficial tax policy for Johnson Utilities in exchange for cash paid to his wife and an attempt to have Johnson fund the land deal. Ryan Randazzo, azcentral, "Bribery trial involving Johnson Utilities, Corporation Commission in jurors' hands," 29 June 2018 And with those choices, Sanders asserts Greis is responsible for the deaths of the Pollitt family. Jennie Key,, "Daniel Greis found guilty on all counts in death of Pollitt family," 29 June 2018 But the group asserted that the mail-in process was unduly burdensome, especially to low-income and disabled residents. Bill Turque, kansascity, "Taxes for KC Streetcar extension to UMKC approved by wide margin in mail-in ballots," 20 June 2018 But Trump repeatedly asserted that the final agreement was based on his ability to size up Kim in person and build a working relationship with him. Anchorage Daily News, "'Why can't we just do it?' Trump nearly upended summit with abrupt changes," 15 June 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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Statistics for assert

Last Updated

14 Dec 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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More from Merriam-Webster on assert

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with assert

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for assert

Spanish Central: Translation of assert

Nglish: Translation of assert for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of assert for Arabic Speakers

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).


a nest or breeding place

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