as·​set ˈa-ˌset How to pronounce asset (audio)
 also  -sət
plural assets
assets plural
: the property of a deceased person subject by law to the payment of his or her debts and legacies
: the entire property of a person, association, corporation, or estate applicable or subject to the payment of debts
: 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 attractive
We 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 Lowry
Greenberg hid his athletic physique under baggy clothes … until he realized that tighter jeans and knits show off his assets better.Sandra Nygaard
: an item of value owned
assets plural : the items on a balance sheet showing the book value of property owned
: something useful in an effort to foil or defeat an enemy: such as
: a piece of military equipment
: spy

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 This means that investments should contain various sets of asset classes. Laxmi Corp, The Salt Lake Tribune, 11 Sep. 2023 One option: Vote to dissolve the conference as of next summer, which would result in all assets being split among the 12 schools. Jon Wilner | , oregonlive, 11 Sep. 2023 As was already clear from multiple court petitions filed in recent months, the dispute is over millions of dollars in assets and several valuable properties, including a multimillion-dollar beach house north of San Francisco and a mansion in the city worth more than $20 million. Kevin Rector, Los Angeles Times, 11 Sep. 2023 The suspects were stopped outside the store by an asset protection officer and held for the police. cleveland, 10 Sep. 2023 Roblox will grab assets from either its marketplace or your own visual asset library, according to Roblox spokesperson Roman Skuratovskiy. Jay Peters, The Verge, 8 Sep. 2023 The dollar has gained about 5 percent over the past few weeks against the currencies of major trading partners, a sharp move in that market, suggesting that investors are piling into U.S. assets as growth in China falters and the outlook for Europe is underwhelming. Joe Rennison, New York Times, 8 Sep. 2023 Jennifer covers royal, celeb and art content as well as overseeing all visual assets on Jennifer Algoo, Harper's BAZAAR, 8 Sep. 2023 Money tied to $150 billion in frozen Russian government assets could go to Ukraine to help the country rebuild or fill budget gaps, according to bond analysts at Goldman Sachs. Alexander Saeedy, WSJ, 8 Sep. 2023 See More

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

Word History


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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near asset

Cite this Entry

“Asset.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


as·​set ˈas-ˌet How to pronounce asset (audio)
plural : all the property of a person, corporation, or estate that may be used in payment of debts
: a quality or thing that can be used to advantage
a real asset to the team

Legal Definition


as·​set ˈa-ˌset, -sət How to pronounce asset (audio)
: the entire property of a person, business organization, or estate that is subject to the payment of debts
used in pl.
compare equity
: 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
: the excess of assets over liabilities

called also net worth

: 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

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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