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

Excerpts of the Central Intelligence Agency’s assessment, which cites electronic intercepts and other clandestine information, were reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Warren P. Strobel, WSJ, "CIA Intercepts Underpin Assessment Saudi Crown Prince Targeted Khashoggi," 1 Dec. 2018 But on February 27, a preliminary injunction was issued to block the completion of an extension of the BBP because the Army Corps of Engineers had not met all the environmental assessment requirements. Mary Lovell, Teen Vogue, "Bayou Bridge Pipeline Meets Resistance from the L’eau Est La Vie Camp," 16 Oct. 2018 In regular session at 6 p.m., the council will hold hearings on the levy of the annual assessment for 2018-19 for Street Lighting and Landscaping Districts No. 1 and 2. Laura Groch,, "On the agenda, July 8," 8 July 2018 The diocese said its Diocesan Review Board examined the investigator's report and agreed with the assessment. Judy L. Thomas, kansascity, "Could former KC priest, 86, still face charges? Yes, but 'there is an issue of time'," 3 July 2018 Changes in GE’s risk assessment and assumptions triggered a $6.2 billion charge related to the insurance portfolio, the company explained in a January conference call. Ezequiel Minaya, WSJ, "Long-Term Care Insurance Policies Weigh Down GE and Other Companies," 3 Dec. 2018 The commission is calling for Congress to push for assessments by U.S. government agencies on their supply chain vulnerabilities. Matthew Pennington, The Seattle Times, "US panel warns against government purchase of Chinese tech," 14 Nov. 2018 He was taken to an area hospital for further assessment. Paulina Dedaj, Fox News, "Maine mom who allegedly left toddler in Target shopping cart is charged," 26 Sep. 2018 But the other view — Levine’s emergent-systems view — doesn’t allow for such a rosy assessment. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Stop calling Facebook’s effort to fix itself an “arms race”," 14 Sep. 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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Statistics for assessment

Last Updated

4 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for assessment

The first known use of assessment was in 1534

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