as·​sess·​ment ə-ˈses-mənt How to pronounce assessment (audio)
: 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
: 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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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.
Recent Examples on the Web The boards A week into summer workouts, Dutcher was asked for an early assessment of his team. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 27 Nov. 2023 Here’s the seven-day assessment from the National Hurricane Center, showing no activity expected: Tropical development is rare but not unheard of in December, but this looks unlikely at least into early next month. A. Camden Walker, Washington Post, 26 Nov. 2023 The hostages received an initial medical assessment after their release by Hamas, which abducted them during the Oct. 7 attacks. Anat Peled, WSJ, 24 Nov. 2023 Officials have not yet determined whether the crash was deliberate or accidental, according to the preliminary assessments and law enforcement sources. Cara Tabachnick, CBS News, 22 Nov. 2023 But based on the climate pledges that countries have made to date, greenhouse gas emissions are likely to fall by just 2 percent this decade, according to a U.N. assessment published this month. E&e News, Scientific American, 20 Nov. 2023 The federal highway regulator did not approve Boring’s draft environmental assessment. Byjessica Mathews, Fortune, 20 Nov. 2023 The assessment came after officials were able to inspect the site, which has become a symbol of the plight of Palestinians under Israeli assault. NBC News, 19 Nov. 2023 In an acknowledgment of the intractable class and race disparities in A.P. test scores, some of the board’s newest courses culminate not in tests, but in assessments that include projects or presentations. Dana Goldstein, New York Times, 18 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'assessment.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


see assess

First Known Use

1534, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of assessment was in 1534

Dictionary Entries Near assessment

Cite this Entry

“Assessment.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


as·​sess·​ment ə-ˈses-mənt How to pronounce assessment (audio)
: the act of assessing
: the amount or value assessed

More from Merriam-Webster on assessment

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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