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

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 As its name suggests, data-centric AI treats quality data as an asset of utmost importance. Phil Hall, Forbes, 16 June 2022 The central bank has also initiated a program to withdraw stimulus by shrinking its $8.9 trillion asset portfolio through attrition; the Fed is passively reducing its holdings as those securities mature. Nick Timiraos, WSJ, 15 June 2022 Supporters see bioenergy as a critical asset in the transition to a cleaner future, even part of the longer-term mix, but critics are aghast that the felling of forests could ever be considered sustainable. Jason Thomson, The Christian Science Monitor, 14 June 2022 Meanwhile, two-thirds of China’s 70 major cities saw their new home prices drop in April, compared with 38 cities in March, pointing to further danger of shrinking wealth of Chinese families, which count property as a major asset. Jane Li, Quartz, 13 June 2022 Karamo has touted her inexperience in public office as an asset to her campaign that enhances her appeal among voters. Clara Hendrickson, Detroit Free Press, 31 May 2022 This is especially true of the Biden administration, which counts its relationship with India as a strategic asset in its Indo-Pacific strategy. Yasmeen Serhan, The Atlantic, 27 May 2022 While Lake Hodges is popular as a recreational asset, its main purpose is serving as a source of source of drinking water for residents of San Diego County, as well as an emergency storage facility for the region’s water system. Joe Tash, San Diego Union-Tribune, 22 May 2022 The community leaders described Aberdeen Proving Ground as an asset in public health, security, enterprise, student success and more. Tony Roberts, Baltimore Sun, 13 May 2022 See More

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.

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

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

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Dictionary Entries Near asset



asset currency

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Last Updated

27 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Asset.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for asset


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

More from Merriam-Webster on asset

Nglish: Translation of asset for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of asset for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about asset


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