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 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 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 This difficulty is a version of the agency problem of asset management. The Economist, "Buttonwood What the enthusiasm for funding startups means for the VC world," 31 Mar. 2021 The funds were sold through Credit Suisse, the big Swiss lender, and a Swiss asset management firm called GAM. New York Times, "The Swift Collapse of a Company Built on Debt," 28 Mar. 2021 Persistent obstacles in asset management Despite the high expectations that new US multilateral policy brings, challenges remain. Lauren Mchugh Olende, Quartz, "African asset managers should prepare to capitalize on a friendlier US approach," 26 Mar. 2021 But the greatest leverage is that wielded by large asset-management companies. Stephen R. Soukup, National Review, "Managing Your Money the Woke Way," 25 Mar. 2021 Kevin Mahoney, 61, before his retirement, worked in hotel asset management and investments, according to his daughter Erika Mahoney, a news director at KAZU Public Radio in the Monterey, California, area. Mike Brest, Washington Examiner, "Here's what we know about the victims of the Colorado shooting," 24 Mar. 2021 The drop was mainly due to a 26% y-o-y decrease in net premiums, partially offset by a 44% jump in asset management fees, commissions, and other income. Trefis Team, Forbes, "At $91, Prudential Financial Stock Is Slightly High," 18 Mar. 2021 Following Thursday’s announcement, Mr. Gottstein will have a more direct line of sight over the asset-management arm. Margot Patrick, WSJ, "Credit Suisse Replaces Asset-Management Head in Post-Greensill Reshuffle," 18 Mar. 2021 Last month, Wells Fargo sold its asset management business to two private equity firms for $2.1 billion. Kavita Kumar, Star Tribune, "Abbot Downing, Wells Fargo's boutique business for the super rich, is being rebranded," 15 Mar. 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

4 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Asset.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for asset



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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