as·​sist | \ ə-ˈsist \
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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for assist

Synonyms: Verb

abet, aid, back, backstop, help, prop (up), support

Synonyms: Noun

abetment, aid, assistance, backing, boost, hand, help, helping hand, leg up, lift, support

Antonyms: Verb


Antonyms: Noun


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of assist in a Sentence


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

Key ingredients to look for in a night cream often include retinol, to help to minimize the appearance of wrinkles, along with peptides, which assist in collagen production. Rachel Jacoby Zoldan, SELF, "These Are the Best Night Creams, According to Dermatologists," 15 Nov. 2018 Vote and the hotline 866-OUR-VOTE, which will assist callers who have questions about their voting rights. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "The Kennedy Family Is Using Instagram to Get Out the Vote This Election Season," 6 Nov. 2018 Laura Jacobs, the former FourWinds Logistics comptroller who assisted in a scheme to defraud company investors, was sentenced to a year and a day in a federal women’s prison camp on Wednesday. Patrick Danner, San Antonio Express-News, "FourWinds bookkeeper who testified against Uresti sentenced to year in prison camp," 11 July 2018 The idea that assisted reproductive technology might play a role in species conservation has been around since the 1970s. Deborah Netburn,, "How IVF might save northern white rhinos, the world's most endangered species," 4 July 2018 Richert, who assisted Brian for seven seasons before serving as head coach in 2010-'11, takes over a program that went 16-8 last season and tied for third in the Midwest Classic with a 9-6 record. Mark Stewart, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Former Young Coggs boys basketball coach Tim Richert takes over at Living Word Lutheran," 25 June 2018 Many have independent housing through homes or apartments, assisted living, and nursing care, all in the same location. Korin Miller, SELF, "6 Different End-of-Life Care Options to Know if You or a Loved One Is Sick," 18 Dec. 2018 Local media coverage prompted hundreds more to join, and Dunia Montoya, a volunteer assisting the migrants, estimated Sunday that the group had grown to at least 1,600 people. Fox News, "Honduran migrant caravan crosses Guatemala border, US-bound," 15 Oct. 2018 The San Diego Humane Society has also been assisting. Karen Pearlman,, "A few animals from West Fire waiting to be reunited with families," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

For those ready to ride without assistance, there's a deep system of combos, assists, and resets that will take you much further than the auto tools, rewarding your efforts and training. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Ars Technica’s best games of 2018," 24 Dec. 2018 Wade scored all 15 of his points in the second half to go with 10 assists and five boards. Greg Beacham, The Seattle Times, "Wade, James embrace final chance to compete on court," 11 Dec. 2018 Despite a few injury-riddled seasons, LaVine is averaging 22 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4 assists for his career. Ryan Gaydos, Fox News, "Chicago Bulls' Zach LaVine blasted by seafood restaurant on social media," 27 Aug. 2018 The '94 Rookie of the Year is still among franchise leaders in many categories, including third in steals, third in assists, and eighth in minutes played. 1. Stefan Stevenson, star-telegram, "Mavericks' top picks often fizzled, but these five sizzled," 19 June 2018 And yet, somehow, Durant towered above the rest with his second consecutive Finals MVP award, racking up the first triple-double of his playoff career with 20 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. Bruce Jenkins, San Francisco Chronicle, "Warriors’ title run features a parade of leading men," 9 June 2018 Junior Carter Hawthorne sets up the offense and is the career leader in assists with 131. Staff Reports,, "Hartford Earns First NCAA Baseball Berth," 26 May 2018 Darius Brown II scored 25 points with six assists and Rodney Henderson Jr. added 16 points. Seattle Times Staff, The Seattle Times, "Washington State men down Cal State Northridge 103-94," 27 Nov. 2018 Shaquille Harrison led Phoenix with 17 points, eight rebounds and six assists, while Deandre Ayton finished with 10 points and nine rebounds. Arizona Republic, azcentral, "Phoenix Suns fall in NBA Summer League playoffs to Philadelphia 76ers," 12 July 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of assist


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense


1597, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for assist

Verb and Noun

Middle French or Latin; Middle French assister to help, stand by, from Latin assistere, from ad- + sistere to cause to stand; akin to Latin stare to stand — more at stand

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about assist

Dictionary Entries near assist






assistance dog


Statistics for assist

Last Updated

10 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for assist

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for assist



English Language Learners Definition of assist

: to give support or help : to make it easier for someone to do something or for something to happen


as·​sist | \ ə-ˈsist \
assisted; assisting

Kids Definition of assist

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to give support or help He assisted his mother in preparing dinner.



Kids Definition of assist (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act of supporting or helping I finished my chores with an assist from my friends.
as·​sist | \ ə-ˈsist \

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on assist

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with assist

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for assist

Spanish Central: Translation of assist

Nglish: Translation of assist for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of assist for Arabic Speakers

Comments on assist

What made you want to look up assist? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


involving abstract or general statements

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Liar, Liar Quiz

  • alt-5761dbe2ba986
  • Someone who pretends to be sick in order to avoid work is a:
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!