as·​sist | \ ə-ˈsist How to pronounce assist (audio) \
assisted; assisting; assists

Definition of assist

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

: to give usually supplementary support or aid to She assisted the boy with his lessons.

intransitive verb

1 : to give support or aid assisted at the stove Another surgeon assisted on the operation.
2 : to be present as a spectator … the ideal figures assisting at Italian holy scenes.— Mary McCarthy



Definition of assist (Entry 2 of 2)

1 US : an act or action that helps someone : an act of assistance He wrote the story with an assist from a friend. [=with the help of a friend]
2 : the action (such as a throw or pass) of a player who enables a teammate to make a putout (as in baseball) or score a goal (as in basketball or hockey) also : official credit given for such an action was credited with 5 assists in the first half
3 : a mechanical or electromechanical device that provides assistance

Synonyms & Antonyms for assist

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Noun

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Examples of assist in a Sentence

Verb The device assists those who can't climb stairs. The President was assisted by his advisers. She assisted the boy with his homework. Another doctor assisted him with the operation. Another doctor assisted with the operation. Federal agents are assisting with the investigation. She assisted in making the decision. The cream assists in the prevention of skin cancer. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Daley assembled a a Chicago 2016 Committee of big names to assist in the effort — including Aon chairman Patrick Ryan, TransUnion LLC (and later Secretary of Commerce) chairman Penny Pritzker and Skidmore Owings & Merrill partner Tom Kerwin. Kori Rumore, Chicago Tribune, 13 May 2022 The investigation is ongoing and the FBI has been called to assist in the probe. Marlene Lenthang, NBC News, 12 May 2022 Salt Lake City police also responded to the area to assist in the response, officials said. Alastair Lee Bitsóí, The Salt Lake Tribune, 9 May 2022 The City Council is considering a proposal to use $4.5 million from last year’s federal pandemic relief funding to accelerate neighborhood plantings, with urban foresters to assist residents who want to plant and care for trees. Brandon Loomis, The Arizona Republic, 17 Apr. 2022 Part of the initiative aims to assist residents returning from incarceration who are at the highest risk of poor outcomes and may be in danger of being a victim or perpetrator of a shooting, according to officials. Hartford Courant, 15 Apr. 2022 The mayor also pledged to get an effort off the ground to assist city residents returning from prison. Emily Opilo, Baltimore Sun, 5 Apr. 2022 Red Cross planned to assist the residents with temporary housing assistance, Hernandez said. San Diego Union-Tribune, 16 Mar. 2022 The settlement does not include any admission of wrongdoing but requires the agency to assist residents in the affected districts. Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle, 7 Feb. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The assist for Pato marked his team-leading third of the year. Austin David, Orlando Sentinel, 14 May 2022 Kreider gave the Rangers the lead 13:48 into the second by jamming home a rebound off a shot by Zibanejad, with Shesterkin also getting an assist on the play. Will Graves, Hartford Courant, 14 May 2022 The parking assist electronic control unit (ECU) software may prevent transmission of the rearview camera signal during cold weather, preventing the rearview image from displaying. Detroit Free Press, 13 May 2022 After Kingman Academy got on board in the top of the first, the Elks responded by nailing Aspen Johnson with an outfield assist, thwarting a potential sacrifice fly that would have made it 2-0. Theo Mackie, The Arizona Republic, 13 May 2022 Also, in his 27 other games following an 8+ assist outing, Holiday produced 7.0 assists per game, well above his season average. Xl Media, cleveland, 13 May 2022 The parking assist electronic control unit (ECU) software may prevent transmission of the rearview camera signal during cold weather, preventing the rearview image from displaying. USA TODAY, 13 May 2022 Yet throughout Preacher’s Daughter, Ethel Cain is listed as songwriter and producer on all 13 songs, with only the occasional assist. Stephen Daw, Billboard, 12 May 2022 Ellevator has received helping hands aplenty, including an assist from power-pop rockers and Hamilton heroes Arkells. Beau Hayhoe, SPIN, 11 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'assist.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of assist


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense


1923, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for assist


Middle English assisten "to help, aid, give aid (to)," borrowed from Anglo-French assister (Middle French also "to be present near, stand near" [with a "to"]), borrowed from Latin assistō, assistere "to take up a position near, stand by, stand by as a supporter or advocate," from ad- ad- (assimilated to as-) + sistere "to cause to stand, assume a standing position, place, check, halt," going back to Indo-European *sti-sth2-e-, reduplicated present formation from the base *steh2- "set up (in a place), take a position," whence also Old Irish ˑsissedar (in arˑsissedar "[s/he] stays, stands fast"), Greek hístēmi, histánai "to cause to stand, place," hístamai, hístasthai "to take up a position, come and stand," Sanskrit tíṣṭhati "(s/he) takes a position, stands," Avestan hištaṇti "(they) take a position" — more at stand entry 1


derivative of assist entry 1

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Time Traveler for assist

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The first known use of assist was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

16 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Assist.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for assist


as·​sist | \ ə-ˈsist How to pronounce assist (audio) \
assisted; assisting

Kids Definition of assist

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to give support or help A clerk assisted the customer.



Kids Definition of assist (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act of supporting or helping I finished my chores with an assist from my friends.


transitive verb
as·​sist | \ ə-ˈsist How to pronounce assist (audio) \

Medical Definition of assist

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to give usually supplementary support or aid to assist the patient up the stairs assist respiration mechanically

intransitive verb

: to give support or aid



Medical Definition of assist (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act or procedure that provides assistance external pressure circulatory assist employs compression of the lower extremities— P. W. Wright

More from Merriam-Webster on assist

Nglish: Translation of assist for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of assist for Arabic Speakers


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