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 Psychologists weigh in on Geyser's mental history and current state In testimony Wednesday, two psychologists who have evaluated Geyser over the years, including more recent assessments tied to her conditional release petition, spoke about dual aspects of Geyser's current mental state. Jim Riccioli, Journal Sentinel, 11 Apr. 2024 In some instances, falling values for offices have prompted building owners to file appeals with Santa Clara County real estate officials regarding the assessments on their properties. George Avalos, The Mercury News, 11 Apr. 2024 Both Wittenberg and the current board declined to answer questions about the cost of the assessment. James Queally, Los Angeles Times, 11 Apr. 2024 More than 80% of Khan Younis's buildings are estimated to be destroyed and the rest mostly uninhabitable, according to an initial assessment by the Khan Younis municipality. Daniel Estrin, NPR, 10 Apr. 2024 The stark assessment came as House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has refused to hold a vote on a national security spending package that includes about $60 billion for Ukraine, $14 billion for Israel, and additional money for Pacific initiatives and other priorities. Dan Lamothe, Washington Post, 10 Apr. 2024 Officials are working on emergency preparedness planning and risk assessments. Aliza Chasan, CBS News, 10 Apr. 2024 During those clinics, teachers gave students reading assessments and walked parents through the results. Silas Allen, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 9 Apr. 2024 With very advanced militaries, such as those of Israel and the U.S., there are typically lawyers embedded in targeting cells who help advise on the proportionality assessment and the distinction principle. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, 8 Apr. 2024

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 25 Apr. 2024.

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

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