verb as·sess \ə-ˈses, a-\

Definition of assess

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to determine the rate or amount of (something, such as a tax, charge, or fine)

  3. 2a :  to impose (something, such as a tax) according to an established rateb :  to subject to a tax, charge, or levy Every homeowner will be assessed a tax according to the value of the property.

  4. 3 :  to make an official valuation of (property) for the purposes of taxation Their property is assessed at $200,000.

  5. 4 :  to determine the importance, size, or value of assess a problem assess the damage

  6. 5 sports :  to charge (a player or team) with a foul or penalty


play \-ˈse-sə-bəl\ adjective

Examples of assess in a Sentence

  1. Cornell graduate student James Tanner spent three years in the early 1940s slogging southern swamps and bayous to assess where and how the species could be saved. By his reckoning, no more than twenty-four ivory-bills remained in the entire Southeast. —John Terborgh, New York Review of Books, 26 Apr. 2007

  2. When the training staff determined that Everett had no mobility below his neck, Cappuccino was waved onto the field. He performed a quick battery of tests to assess the severity of the injury, squeezing various parts of Everett's body and asking him to respond. —Tim Layden, Sports Illustrated, 17 Dec. 2007

  3. Tetlock found that his experts used a double standard: they were much tougher in assessing the validity of information that undercut their theory than they were in crediting information that supported it. —Louis Menand, New Yorker, 5 Dec. 2005

  4. Briefly, the way it works is this. Every time a hog is sold, the seller is assessed 40 cents per $100 of sale value to promote the consumption of pork. —Warren R. Ross, UU World, Fall 2005

  5. After the hurricane, officials assessed the town's need for aid.

  6. We need to assess whether or not the system is working.

  7. Damage to the boat was assessed at $5,000.

  8. The company was assessed $12 million in fines for polluting the river.

Recent Examples of assess from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of assess

Middle English, probably from Medieval Latin assessus, past participle of assidēre, from Latin, to sit beside, assist in the office of a judge — more at assize

Synonym Discussion of assess

estimate, appraise, evaluate, value, rate, assess mean to judge something with respect to its worth or significance. estimate implies a judgment, considered or casual, that precedes or takes the place of actual measuring or counting or testing out. estimated the crowd at two hundred appraise commonly implies the fixing by an expert of the monetary worth of a thing, but it may be used of any critical judgment. having their house appraised evaluate suggests an attempt to determine relative or intrinsic worth in terms other than monetary. evaluate a student's work value equals appraise but without implying expertness of judgment. a watercolor valued by the donor at $500 rate adds to estimate the notion of placing a thing according to a scale of values. a highly rated restaurant assess implies a critical appraisal for the purpose of understanding or interpreting, or as a guide in taking action. officials are trying to assess the damage

ASSESS Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of assess for English Language Learners

  • : to make a judgment about (something)

  • : to officially say what the amount, value, or rate of (something) is

  • : to tax or charge (someone or something) : to require (a person, business, etc.) to pay a particular amount of money

ASSESS Defined for Kids


verb as·sess \ə-ˈses\

Definition of assess for Students




  1. 1 :  to make a judgment about The school assessed the students' progress each year.

  2. 2 :  to decide on the rate, value, or amount of (as for taxation) The jury assessed damages of $5000. The house was assessed at $140,000.

  3. 3 :  to put a charge or tax on The city assessed all car owners a fee.


\-ər\ noun a tax assessor

Headscratcher for assess

Assesses is the longest word in English that contains only one consonant repeated over and over again.

Law Dictionary


transitive verb as·sess \ə-ˈses\

Legal Definition of assess

  1. 1 :  to determine the rate or amount of (as a tax)

  2. 2a :  to impose (as a tax) according to an established rate b :  to subject to a tax, charge, or levy each property owner was assessed an additional five dollars

  3. 3 :  to make an official valuation of (property) for the purposes of taxation


\ə-ˈse-sə-bəl\ play adjective



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