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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

And Falcao has a great look at a header on the free kick, but send it just barely over the bar! 23’: Senegal Presses The game is opening up as Senegal gets a little more assertive on offense. Joel Petterson, New York Times, "Colombia Emerges From the World Cup Chaos, Booting Senegal," 29 June 2018 At the other end, the far right has become increasingly assertive as the Golden Dawn trial has stalled. Yannis Palaiologos, WSJ, "The Far Left and Right Run Riot on Greek Streets," 28 May 2018 Liverpool, so assertive early on, made Madrid look edgy. Rob Harris,, "Real Madrid tops Liverpool to win third straight Champions League title," 26 May 2018 Liverpool, so assertive early on, made Madrid look edgy. Rob Harris, Houston Chronicle, "Gareth Bale's scissor-kick gives Real Madrid 3rd straight European title," 26 May 2018 Liverpool, so assertive early on, made Madrid look edgy. Rob Harris,, "Bale's Scissor-Kick Gives Madrid 3rd Straight European Title," 26 May 2018 Non-governmental groups are becoming more assertive, too. The Economist, "European firms are increasingly tackling the scourge of bribery," 26 May 2018 During his tenure, Beck has been particularly assertive on the need for the department to build trust with the city's immigrant communities. Dakota Smith,, "Money for police cannot be pegged to cooperation with ICE, judge rules," 12 Apr. 2018 Winston will need to continue his defensive improvements while becoming a more assertive on-court voice, working to fill the void that will be left by the graduation of three-time captain Tum Tum Nairn. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State basketball 2018-19: Roster analysis (minus Bridges, Jackson)," 22 Mar. 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.

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First Known Use of assertive

circa 1619, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for assertive

see assert

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Statistics for assertive

Last Updated

10 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for assertive

The first known use of assertive was circa 1619

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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

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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).


the setting in which something occurs

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