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 Britain has been especially vocal about Beijing’s effort to assert its authority over Hong Kong, which was once a British colony. Annabelle Timsit, Quartz, "Millions of residents of Hong Kong are now eligible for UK citizenship," 1 July 2020 However, the civilians part of the government has struggled to assert authority in the face of the military’s power. Washington Post, "Protesters return to Sudan streets, calling for more reforms," 30 June 2020 Asked how the president could assert that the bounty allegations weren’t credible without being briefed on that intelligence, McEnany pivoted to an attack on The Times’ credibility without providing a direct answer. Todd J. Gillman, Dallas News, "Trump rejects intel on Russian bounties, but top Texas Republicans say retaliation may be called for," 29 June 2020 Don't hesitate to assert yourself if something doesn't feel right or was done without your knowledge or authorization. Magi Helena, oregonlive, "Horoscope for June 18, 2020: Leo, wait for clarity; Capricorn, open your mind to new ways," 18 June 2020 The Initiative also would hold government leaders responsible who refuse to respond to church and property attacks, as well as assert the rights of churches to use physical force to protect their property and safety if absolutely necessary. Fox News, "Pastors vow to ‘defend’ houses of worship, ‘not allow Christian heritage to be erased’," 26 June 2020 Tim Cook used his opening remarks to discuss protests of police brutality and to assert Apple's commitment to racial justice. Cat Zakrzewski, Washington Post, "The Technology 202: Tech leaders say Trump's immigration crackdown will be bad for business," 23 June 2020 The move emphasized Apple’s desire to assert the iPad as more than a middle child, squished between the iPhone and MacBook. Boone Ashworth, Wired, "How to Watch Apple's WWDC 2020 Keynote (and What to Expect)," 21 June 2020 Protests against police brutality sprouted in over 140 cities across the US to assert a sense of control over the law-enforcement institutions that have long wielded power at the people’s expense. Alain Sylvain, Quartz at Work, "Collective action is our new power language. How will leaders respond?," 19 June 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

12 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Assert.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jul. 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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More from Merriam-Webster on assert

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for assert

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with assert

Spanish Central: Translation of assert

Nglish: Translation of assert for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of assert for Arabic Speakers

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