as·​sess·​ment | \ ə-ˈses-mənt, a-\

Definition of assessment

1 : the action or an instance of making a judgment about something : the act of assessing something : appraisal assessment of damages an assessment of the president's achievements
2 : the amount assessed : an amount that a person is officially required to pay especially as a tax the tax assessment on property

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Synonyms for assessment


duty, imposition, impost, levy, tax

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History of Assessment

Assessment has two meanings (“an amount that a person is officially required to pay” and “the act of making a judgment about something”) so distinct that one might rightfully wonder if they come from different sources. They do not.

Both are derived from related senses of assess, a verb that for over 500 years has meant “to determine the rate or amount of (a tax).” The monetary sense of assessment is tied to this oldest use of assess. By the 19th century, the verb’s object shifted slightly to produce a new meaning, “to make an official valuation of (property) for the purposes of taxation.” It was but a short step from here to the broadened sense “to make a judgment about” that is the basis of assessment “the act of making a judgment.”

Examples of assessment in a Sentence

It's a difficult problem that requires careful assessment. I don't agree with his assessment of the problem. The owners claimed the tax assessment on their house was too high.
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Recent Examples on the Web

But there was also, in contrast to the third climate assessment, no resources beyond the bare minimum put into promoting the report. Mary Beth Griggs, The Verge, "Report finds that climate change could cause ‘substantial damages’ to US," 23 Nov. 2018 Contrary to what the public has been led to believe, the FBI doesn’t perform any credibility assessment, or verify the truth of any event in these background investigations. Brooke Singman, Fox News, "Grassley quotes Anita Hill-era Biden to shoot down call for new FBI probe," 27 Sep. 2018 For some reason, neither Perri nor the Historical Commission sought an independent assessment, despite the urging of the Preservation Alliance. Inga Saffron,, "A tale of two historic Philadelphia buildings: One rises from the ashes. The other falls to the wrecking ball.," 12 July 2018 This week’s agenda includes testimony on fire safety, school threat assessment, background checks for gun purchases, the 911 system, law enforcement radio systems and mental health treatment. David Fleshler,, "Stoneman Douglas shooting commission meets this week in Sunrise," 9 July 2018 DiMartino also sent false and threatening correspondence to the IRS to interfere with IRS assessment, investigation and collection efforts, the government charged. David Owens,, "Newington Insurance Salesman Sentenced To 70 Months In Federal Prison For Tax Fraud," 3 July 2018 And clearly, Disney agrees with our assessment of Don't Look Under the Bed's scary-factor. Noelle Devoe, Seventeen, "The Definitive Ranking Of The Best Halloween Disney Channel Original Movies," 29 June 2018 Far-sighted bosses know their stance on China must reflect a balanced assessment, not a delusional vision of globalisation in which anything less than a triumph is considered a travesty. The Economist, "America Inc and the rage against Beijing," 28 June 2018 In the 2015-2016 school year 10 percent of Dennison’s reading students passed the Scholastic Reading Inventory and the piloted PARCC assessments at the proficient or advanced reading level, according to the LMC release. Staff Report, The Aegis, "Havre de Grace Elementary teacher Dennison receives prestigious fellowship," 22 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'assessment.' 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 assessment

1534, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for assessment

see assess

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Last Updated

18 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for assessment

The first known use of assessment was in 1534

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Comments on assessment

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a complex dispute or argument

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