as·​set | \ ˈa-ˌset How to pronounce asset (audio) also -sət \
plural assets

Definition of asset

1 assets plural
a : the property of a deceased person subject by law to the payment of his or her debts and legacies
b : the entire property of a person, association, corporation, or estate applicable or subject to the payment of debts
2 : advantage, resource His wit is his chief asset. sometimes used euphemistically or humorously in the plural to refer to parts of a person's body (such as the breasts or buttocks) that are considered attractiveWe tested RLS's eight-panel shorts on a one-day bike ride. … there was enough padding for saddle comfort, yet not so much that it exaggerated our assets.— Vicky LowryGreenberg hid his athletic physique under baggy clothes … until he realized that tighter jeans and knits show off his assets better.— Sandra Nygaard
3a : an item of value owned
b assets plural : the items on a balance sheet showing the book value of property owned
4 : something useful in an effort to foil or defeat an enemy: such as
a : a piece of military equipment
b : spy

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Examples of asset in a Sentence

The state's natural assets include mountains and beautiful lakes. rumors persisted that CIA assets were behind the coup d'état
Recent Examples on the Web Several people involved in valuing the asset, during an internal assessment in 2019, said employees were being forced to use unrealistic assumptions about how quickly the company could drill wells there to arrive at a higher value, the report said. Washington Post, "U.S. retail sales fell again in December, while factory production accelerated," 15 Jan. 2021 The complaint alleges that lower-level employees were pressured to use unrealistic assumptions on drilling in valuing a key asset in the Permian Basin. Francesca Fontana, WSJ, "Alphabet, Intel, Exxon Mobil: Stocks That Defined the Week," 15 Jan. 2021 But Pettine points out another valuable asset provided by most of these top cornerbacks: A confidence that spreads throughout the defense. Greg Beacham, ajc, "Top cornerbacks standing out on NFL's Super Bowl hopefuls," 15 Jan. 2021 The cold weather in Asia has triggered some spectacular asset moves that have eclipsed Bitcoin in the case of Japan power futures. Mark Cranfield,, "Investor Excess Goes Global as Signs of Froth Emerge in Asia," 14 Jan. 2021 While the veteran seems to be most likely to get squeezed by the Allen addition, the rash of injuries throughout the first few weeks makes depth an asset. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Cleveland Cavaliers jump in James Harden trade, steal Jarrett Allen and make big addition to growing young core," 14 Jan. 2021 Even amid the ongoing threat of COVID-19, Diggins retained an optimism that’s become a trademark asset in a sport requiring incalculable mental toughness. Hayden Bird,, "Southie’s Jessie Diggins has climbed to the pinnacle of the cross-country skiing world," 14 Jan. 2021 That message came amid an 11 percent decline in the price of Bitcoin, the industry’s premier asset, whose value had tripled in the last three months. Jacob Silverman, The New Republic, "Is Tether Just a Scam to Enrich Bitcoin Investors?," 13 Jan. 2021 In the wake of the scandal over his relationship with a Chinese intelligence asset named Fang Fang, the California representative appears to be only rewarded for his bad behavior, some lawmakers say. Joseph Simonson, Washington Examiner, "GOP seethes at Swalwell's role in impeachment hearing," 13 Jan. 2021

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for asset

back-formation from assets, singular, sufficient property to pay debts and legacies, from Anglo-French assetz, from asez enough, from Vulgar Latin *ad satis, from Latin ad to + satis enough — more at at, sad

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Time Traveler for asset

Time Traveler

The first known use of asset was in the 14th century

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Statistics for asset

Last Updated

22 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Asset.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for asset


How to pronounce asset (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of asset

: a valuable person or thing
: something that is owned by a person, company, etc.


as·​set | \ ˈa-ˌset How to pronounce asset (audio) \

Kids Definition of asset

1 : someone or something that provides a benefit Your sense of humor is an asset. She is an asset to the class.
2 assets plural : all the property belonging to a person or an organization


as·​set | \ ˈa-ˌset, -sət How to pronounce asset (audio) \

Legal Definition of asset

1 : the entire property of a person, business organization, or estate that is subject to the payment of debts used in pl. — compare equity
2 : an item of property owned
admitted asset
: an asset allowed by law to be included in determining the financial condition of an insurance company — compare nonadmitted asset in this entry
appointive asset
: an asset in an estate that is to be distributed under a power of appointment
capital asset
: a tangible or intangible long-term asset especially that is not regularly bought or sold as part of the owner's business specifically : any asset classified as a capital asset by law (as section 1221 of the Internal Revenue Code)
current asset
: a short-term asset (as inventory, an account receivable, or a note) that can be quickly converted into cash
equitable asset
: an asset especially in an estate that is subject to the payment of debts only in a court of equity
fixed asset
: a tangible asset (as a piece of equipment) that is of a permanent or long-term nature
intangible asset
: an asset (as goodwill or a patent) that does not have physical form
marital asset
: an asset acquired by either spouse or both spouses during a marriage

Note: Marital assets are generally subject to equitable distribution on divorce.

net assets
1 : the excess of assets over liabilities

called also net worth

2 : admitted assets considered as a whole
net quick assets
: the excess of quick assets over current liabilities
nonadmitted asset
: an asset not allowed by law to be included in determining the financial condition of an insurance company because it cannot be quickly converted into cash without incurring a loss — compare admitted asset in this entry
quick assets
: cash, accounts receivable, and other current assets except inventories
tangible asset
: an asset that has physical form and is capable of being appraised at an actual or approximate value
wasting asset
: property (as a copyright or oil well) that will eventually expire or be used up and lose its value

History and Etymology for asset

back-formation from assets, singular, sufficient property to pay debts and legacies, from Anglo-French asetz, from Old French asez enough

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