as·​sess | \ ə-ˈses How to pronounce assess (audio) , a- \
assessed; assessing; assesses

Definition of assess

transitive verb

1 : to determine the rate or amount of (something, such as a tax, charge, or fine)
2a : to impose (something, such as a tax) according to an established rate
b : to subject to a tax, charge, or levy Every homeowner will be assessed a tax according to the value of the property.
3 : to make an official valuation of (property) for the purposes of taxation Their property is assessed at $200,000.
4 : to determine the importance, size, or value of assess a problem assess the damage
5 sports : to charge (a player or team) with a foul or penalty

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Synonyms & Antonyms for assess



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Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of assess in a Sentence

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 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 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 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 After the hurricane, officials assessed the town's need for aid. We need to assess whether or not the system is working. Damage to the boat was assessed at $5,000. The company was assessed $12 million in fines for polluting the river.
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Recent Examples on the Web If the vaccine is now offered to participants in the placebo group, that would limit regulators’ ability to continue to compare outcomes and assess safety and efficacy over a longer time period. Tanya Lewis, Scientific American, "Pfizer-BioNTech COVID Vaccine Is First to Win U.S. Authorization," 11 Dec. 2020 The group, which met remotely via video-conferencing, was established to make recommendations to the FDA on how best to assess the safety and effectiveness of vaccines. Thomas M. Burton, WSJ, "FDA Promises Strong Safety Standards for Covid-19 Vaccines as It Convenes Advisory Panel," 22 Oct. 2020 Researchers also check on the patients 90 days later to assess the safety of the therapy and any long-term complications. Katherine J. Wu New York Times, Star Tribune, "Eli Lilly's antibody trial is paused over potential safety concerns," 13 Oct. 2020 Browne said the university is monitoring several factors to assess the safety of keeping the campus open. Christian Sheckler, The Indianapolis Star, "Notre Dame sees spike in COVID-19 cases, which grew worse over the weekend," 17 Aug. 2020 As Michael and the rest of his team were carrying heavy equipment up the stairs, the former Parris Island Marine drill sergeant instructed two of his officers to go ahead to assess the situation. Dean Simpson,, "Walk in memory of 9/11 hero | Opinion," 17 Dec. 2020 That would give those recruits time to assess the situation in Ann Arbor. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, "Forget 'The Game,' Michigan football hurting recruiting with Jim Harbaugh contract limbo," 11 Dec. 2020 Varnum fermented a small batch of tempranillo grapes to assess the situation. Michael Alberty | For The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "Willamette Valley wineries turn lemons into lemonade with smoke-tainted 2020 vintage," 5 Dec. 2020 The University of Central Florida, which manages the observatory for the N.S.F. hired three different sets of engineers to assess the situation. Dennis Overbye, New York Times, "Arecibo Observatory, a Great Eye on the Cosmos, Is Going Dark," 19 Nov. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of assess

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for 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

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Time Traveler for assess

Time Traveler

The first known use of assess was in the 15th century

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Statistics for assess

Last Updated

19 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Assess.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for assess


How to pronounce assess (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of assess

: 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


as·​sess | \ ə-ˈses How to pronounce assess (audio) \
assessed; assessing

Kids Definition of assess

1 : to make a judgment about The school assessed the students' progress each year.
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 : to put a charge or tax on The city assessed all car owners a fee.

Other Words from assess

assessor \ -​ər \ noun a tax assessor
as·​sess | \ ə-ˈses How to pronounce assess (audio) \

Legal Definition of assess

1 : to determine the rate or amount of (as a tax)
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 : to make an official valuation of (property) for the purposes of taxation

Other Words from assess

assessable \ ə-​ˈse-​sə-​bəl How to pronounce assess (audio) \ adjective
assessment noun

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