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

Each player receives an on-ice skills assessment and evaluation, action plan and electronic player profile. Alvaro Montano, Houston Chronicle, "Planet Hockey offers young players chance to improve skill set at Willowbrook camp," 11 July 2018 The committee’s work also will consider recent findings from the architects’ facilities assessment and educational alignment study. Karen Berkowitz,, "District 112 wants configuration ideas by July 15," 3 July 2018 That involves data and assessments and monitoring and evaluation, and most importantly goal setting. Washington Post,, "Starbucks has more work to do, outside review says," 2 July 2018 Ashish Mathur, executive director of the South Asian Heart Center, said that the organization's programming includes screening and assessment and intervention through culturally appropriate counseling. Monica Luhar /, NBC News, "New report details high heart disease risk in South Asians in U.S.," 29 June 2018 In addition being on probation until June 27, 2019, Hansen has already attended a chemical dependency assessment and treatment evaluation. Maria Pasquini,, "Deadliest Catch's Sig Hansen Given Probation, $43 Fine After Pleading Guilty to Uber Assault," 29 June 2018 You will be routed to a local crisis center where professionals can talk you through a risk assessment and provide resources in your community. Stefanie Loh, The Seattle Times, "WSU quarterback Tyler Hilinski had signs of CTE at suicide, family says," 26 June 2018 Children from 7 to 14 years old work together in teams, with few formal assessments and no grades handed out. Mark Harris, Ars Technica, "First space, then auto—now Elon Musk quietly tinkers with education," 25 June 2018 The free back-to-school physicals will include general health assessments and sports physicals with a Nemours specialist, as well as vision and hearing screenings at select locations. Annie Martin,, "Free back-to-school physicals are available in Orange and Seminole counties," 25 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

8 Nov 2018

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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to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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