as·​ser·​tive | \ ə-ˈsər-tiv , a-\

Definition of assertive

1 : disposed to or characterized by bold or confident statements and behavior an assertive leader
2 : having a strong or distinctive flavor or aroma assertive wines

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from assertive

assertively adverb
assertiveness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for assertive

aggressive, militant, assertive, self-assertive mean obtrusively energetic especially in pursuing particular goals. aggressive implies a disposition to dominate often in disregard of others' rights or in determined and energetic pursuit of one's ends. aggressive in his business dealings militant also implies a fighting disposition but suggests not self-seeking but devotion to a cause, movement, or principle. militant protesters rallied against the new law assertive suggests bold self-confidence in expression of opinion. the more assertive speakers dominated the forum self-assertive connotes forwardness or brash self-confidence. a self-assertive young upstart

Examples of assertive in a Sentence

When my mother brought my baby sister home on the train from the Chicago adoption agency, she had hired a woman from the South named Arizona, much younger than Hope, vigorous, boisterous, taller, darker, and less acclimated to the behavior expected of servants in an upscale Wasp suburb up North. She was a blithe spirit, as I remember her, assertive, gleeful, expansive, loud and goofy with me when, to tease her, I'd pull on the bow of her apron strings … — Edward Hoagland, Harper's, July 2004 Don't substitute corn syrup or molasses for cane syrup. Corn syrup is thinner, lighter and milder than cane syrup, and molasses is thicker, darker and much more assertive. — Denise Landis, New York Times, 2 Oct. 2002 One of the points I think that's important is the way in which the United States has responded to the initiatives in the African Renaissance, and a lot of the developments that we have seen, in fact, have their roots in Africa. What it means for U.S. policy is that the Africans themselves are being much more assertive than they have been in the past. Emerge, June 1998 Daily newspaper in Chicago metro region seeks aggressive, assertive crime reporter who thrives on getting obligatory … items done fast in order to devote time to colorful stories about villains, victims and everything in between. Editor & Publisher, 31 Oct. 1998 Their daughter is an assertive little girl. If you want people to listen to your opinions, you'll need to learn to be more assertive.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Photo courtesy of Ray Eschert Developers should expect South Charlotte Partners to be more involved — and more assertive about asking for changes or infrastructure investments — early in the rezoning process. Ely Portillo, charlotteobserver, "A new group is pushing for better roads, more spending in a booming part of Charlotte," 7 June 2018 The episode illustrates how the armed forces in Latin America’s largest nation are becoming increasingly vocal and assertive, some 33 years after the end of military rule., "Brazil’s Army Awakes From Decades-Old Slumber as Elections Near," 15 Apr. 2018 Wassell also exudes a strong stage presence; his Richard is sophisticated and assertive as the wealthy urbanite attempting to lure Rosalind away from George. Patti Restivo, Howard County Times, "A moon full of talent at Laurel Mill Playhouse," 5 Apr. 2018 Photo: jonathan nackstrand/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images President Trump has hectored allies who fail to meet the target, straining relations as NATO bolsters its military capabilities in response to a more assertive Russia. WSJ, "NATO Exercise Sends Warning to Russia, Message to Members," 30 Oct. 2018 Stoltenberg said the world faced ‘‘the most unpredictable security environment in a generation’’ due to terrorism, proliferating weapons of mass destruction, cyberattacks, and an assertive Russia. Jill Lawless,, "NATO head: No guarantee trans-Atlantic alliance will survive," 22 June 2018 Britain argues the attack is part of a pattern of behavior by an increasingly assertive Russia whose muscle-flexing, cyber-meddling and law-breaking on foreign soil pose a threat to the international rule of law. Jill Lawless And Danica Kirka,, "European Union leaders back Britain in blaming Russia over spy poisoning," 22 Mar. 2018 Fine porcelain is also hand-painted with crosshatches, blurred so that the pattern here is recessive rather than assertive. Joan Juliet Buck, ELLE Decor, "The Greatness of Milan Through the Lens of Bottega Veneta," 29 Aug. 2018 In their letter, Senate Republicans urged McConnell to take a more assertive role in advancing spending deals and completing the necessary work on Trump nominees who are still awaiting confirmation in the Senate, the Washington Free Beacon reported. Bradford Betz, Fox News, "Trump wants Senate to advance spending bills, nominations before break," 13 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'assertive.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of assertive

circa 1619, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for assertive

see assert

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about assertive

Statistics for assertive

Last Updated

12 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for assertive

The first known use of assertive was circa 1619

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for assertive



English Language Learners Definition of assertive

: confident in behavior or style


as·​ser·​tive | \ ə-ˈsər-tiv \

Kids Definition of assertive

: having a bold or confident manner an assertive attitude

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on assertive

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


to express emotion in a dramatic way

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!