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 The Soviets were willing to assist, but their satellites weren’t trained on the Chicago suburbs at the time. Chicago Tribune, 22 Sep. 2022 The Lucas County 911 Regional Council of Governments, which handles emergency dispatch for the area, only confirmed to CBS News that local municipal fire crews had responded to assist the refinery's own fire department. CBS News, 21 Sep. 2022 The team uses a harm-reduction model to assist people. Jessica Bravo, Hartford Courant, 20 Sep. 2022 Their goal was to assist students who wished to pursue their Catholic education, as well as support teachers in Catholic schools. cleveland, 18 Sep. 2022 But the students are allowed to serve as greeters and, more importantly, assist poll workers with the electronic pollbooks. al, 18 Sep. 2022 Special operations crews from the Phoenix Fire Department used a big wheel operation Saturday night to assist a 30-year-old woman off of the Dobbins Lookout on South Mountain. Jeremy Yurow, The Arizona Republic, 18 Sep. 2022 After Max was discharged from the hospital, having spent two days in intensive care, his family decided to assist investigators by posting and distributing the fliers. Paul Duggan, Washington Post, 16 Sep. 2022 Officers established a perimeter around the building and surrounding area and Indiana State Police as well as tactical teams from several other local police departments responded to assist. Jen Guadarrama, The Indianapolis Star, 15 Sep. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The 37-year-old brought the Jets back from a 31-17 deficit last week (with the assist from an onside kick) on the road against Cleveland in the final two minutes. Michael Niziolek, cleveland, 22 Sep. 2022 With an assist from defensive lineman Shemar Turner, Anderson brought Knighton down after a 2-yard gain. Adam Lichtenstein, Sun Sentinel, 19 Sep. 2022 The Bay Area has weathered droughts largely through conservation, with a big assist from its cooler, wetter weather and sometimes smaller parcel sizes, which reduce demand. Kurtis Alexander, San Francisco Chronicle, 18 Sep. 2022 The push to remove the tent encampment in Centennial Park was coordinated by Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office, with an assist from the city attorney’s office. James Rainey, Los Angeles Times, 13 Sep. 2022 The Brewers jumped on San Francisco opening pitcher Alex Young for three runs in the first inning with an assist to the visitors' defense. Jr Radcliffe, Journal Sentinel, 8 Sep. 2022 The split decision on Clinton put Bush in the Oval Office — with an assist from the Supreme Court. Matthew Continetti, National Review, 27 Aug. 2022 The special centers on the death of a mysterious young girl and the investigative efforts of Detectives Frank Cosgrove (Jeffrey Donovan) and Jalen Shaw (Mehcad Brooks), with an assist from Capt. Edward Segarra, USA TODAY, 25 Aug. 2022 In the end, the pair of songwriters, with an assist from producer Danja, delivered the powerful track that becomes Mia and Shawna's second song together. Alamin Yohannes,, 19 Aug. 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

25 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Assist.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Oct. 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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