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 assert (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 In 2017, several House Democrats challenged Trump’s win but Biden, who presided at the time as the vice president, swiftly dismissed them to assert Trump’s victory. Lisa Mascaro And,, "Collins, other Republicans condemn GOP ‘scheme’ to undo election for Trump," 3 Jan. 2021 In 2017, several House Democrats challenged Trump’s win but Biden, who presided at the time as the vice president, swiftly dismissed them to assert Trump’s victory. Author: Lisa Mascaro And Mary Clare Jalonick, Anchorage Daily News, "Republicans condemn GOP ‘scheme’ to undo election for Trump," 3 Jan. 2021 China’s own experiment with economic liberalization began in 1981, when Premier Deng Xiaoping began to decentralize and privatize economic activity while continuing to assert the ultimate authority of the CCP. Michael Hochberg, National Review, "The Bill Is Coming Due for China’s ‘Capitalist’ Experiment," 1 Jan. 2021 Human-rights groups are inclined to assert that there’s a moral right to migrate inherent in all persons, accompanied by a right to be resettled. Tunku Varadarajan, WSJ, "‘The Next Great Migration’ Review: A World in Motion," 1 Jan. 2021 The report is at the heart of conspiracies furthered by President Donald Trump and others that incorrectly assert there was widespread election fraud in November. Dave Boucher, Detroit Free Press, "AG: Attorney in Antrim County case should reveal names of elections review team," 29 Dec. 2020 And the issue is rising at a moment when Britain is trying to assert its new role on the global stage as a power outside of the European Union. Elian Peltier, New York Times, "U.K. Says It Can’t Guarantee Assistance for Citizen Held in Iran," 29 Dec. 2020 Besides griping to the media or on internal message boards (which themselves are increasingly policed), the company’s employees have failed to assert their collective power. Jacob Silverman, The New Republic, "Workers of the Facebook, Unite!," 29 Dec. 2020 All of these exceptions are questions of specific fact, and courts are very circumspect when a landlord attempts to assert that tenants' activities rise to the level required by the order. Kelly Klein, Star Tribune, "With college virtual, are students stuck with lease?," 11 Dec. 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

14 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Assert.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jan. 2021.

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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 assert (audio) \ noun

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Comments on assert

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