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 Unwilling to navigate California’s regulatory hurdles, Oxy decided to spin off all its California assets in 2014, loading them up with $6 billion of debt. Christopher Helman, Forbes, 14 Feb. 2024 And, given the report and public statements noted above, the technology is undeniably recognized as a crucial asset by Chinese authorities. IEEE Spectrum, 14 Feb. 2024 That worry could intensify now that people can keep all their assets and still be on Medi-Cal. Bernard J. Wolfson, Los Angeles Times, 14 Feb. 2024 Another way this could manifest is around an assets, investment or a financial matter. Skyler Caruso, Peoplemag, 14 Feb. 2024 With Carson leaving, Miley will be the only supervisor left who approved the unconscionable giveaway of public assets. East Bay Times Editorial, The Mercury News, 13 Feb. 2024 Paramount has struggled in the era of streaming video against larger competitors like Netflix and Amazon, companies that don’t have the burden of having to maintain linear TV assets like CBS, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central. Brian Steinberg, Variety, 13 Feb. 2024 Its controlling shareholders, the Redstone family, are fielding offers for the company, whose assets include CBS, Paramount Pictures and a stable of cable TV channels. Rob Golum, Fortune, 13 Feb. 2024 This undervaluation is a direct result of manipulative tactics by certain entities looking to exploit our assets in Argentina. Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 12 Feb. 2024 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 23 Feb. 2024.

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

More from Merriam-Webster on asset

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