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

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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


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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

There are only two private assisted-living facilities in the city, with three beds between them. James Brooks, Anchorage Daily News, "Pioneer Home residents and families struggle with ‘heartbreaking’ decisions after rate increase," 18 Sep. 2019 The syndrome is a sometimes-deadly stress level suffered, particularly in cases of dementia, by seniors moved, usually from a private home, into assisted-living communities. Glenn Nelson, The Seattle Times, "Battle for ‘soul’ of Seattle’s Japanese American community as Keiro Northwest nursing home closes," 16 Sep. 2019 Bennett and his wife Laurel have also pledged $500,000 toward a career-development program started to assist current and former UVA men’s basketball players. NBC News, "Virginia basketball coach Tony Bennett turns down raise after winning a national title," 16 Sep. 2019 Ephi Zlotnitsky invented the JetComfy, to assist the aisle and doomed middle-seat passenger. Karen Heller, The Know, "We need the travel pillow. But we hate the travel pillow.," 15 Sep. 2019 Boulder County Public Health is able to assist those who need help paying for the vaccination, the news release said. Sam Tabachnik, The Denver Post, "Boulder County jail inmate tests positive for Hepatitis A amid statewide outbreak," 14 Sep. 2019 But the issue of nonprofit hospitals engaging in aggressive debt collection practices that push the very communities they are designed to assist into poverty isn’t new. Maya Miller, ProPublica, "Thousands of Poor Patients Face Lawsuits From Nonprofit Hospitals That Trap Them in Debt," 13 Sep. 2019 The six-story Vivante Senior Living development will replace the former OCMA structures at 850-856 San Clemente Drive with 90 assisted-living dwellings and a 27-bed memory care unit. Hillary Davis, Daily Pilot, "Newport council OKs plan to remove some Balboa Island trees and test others," 11 Sep. 2019 Folks in assisted-living facilities, pasty fanboys at the mall. Michael Mcknight,, "Much Ado About JuJu," 4 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Kevin Durant torched Miami for 36 points in the victory, and Russell Westbrook poured in 27 points and 11 assists. Michael Shapiro,, "Ranking the Best NBA Finals of the Past Decade," 16 Sep. 2019 Donovan Mitchell finished with 16 points and 10 assists, Joe Harris scored 14 and the U.S. wrapped up its stay in China with a 6-2 record. Los Angeles Times, "The Sports Report: Reports of USC’s resurgence were greatly exaggerated," 15 Sep. 2019 Courtney Vandersloot had nine points and 13 assists — extending her WNBA single-season record to 283., "Sky close out their home schedule with a 105-78 romp over the Mercury," 1 Sep. 2019 Lin, whose parents immigrated to the United States from Taiwan, leaves North America with a career average of 11.6 points and 4.3 assists per game in the NBA. NBC News, "Jeremy Lin, with no NBA offers, signs deal to play in China," 27 Aug. 2019 Saccacio led the last-place Oilers (9-19, 1-5) with 15.6 points and 2.9 assists per contest. Daily Pilot Staff, Daily Pilot, "Marina’s Jakob Alamudun receives Wave League boys’ basketball MVP award," 13 Aug. 2019 In a matchup against 6-6 guard Josiah James, a McDonald’s All-American and Tennessee signee, Tate had 24 points and five assists in a game won by Dorman in overtime. David Woods, Indianapolis Star, "Latest commit puts Butler on path to its highest-rated recruiting class ever," 5 Aug. 2019 The 5-foot-11 point guard appeared in 90 games with the Kings over the past two seasons, averaging 6.8 points and 2.6 assists in 15.8 minutes. Matt Velazquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Kyle Korver is a still a threat from long range and fits in well in the Bucks' let-it-fly offense," 20 July 2019 By his third season in the NBA, the slick ball-handling lefty was an All-Star, averaging career bests with 18.8 points and 9.6 assists per game in 1994. David Furones,, "Former NBA player Kenny Anderson doing well in rehab from stroke: ‘I’m almost back to normal’," 18 July 2019

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.

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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

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Learn More about assist

Dictionary Entries near assist






assistance dog


Statistics for assist

Last Updated

3 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for assist

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

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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 How to pronounce assist (audio) \
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 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

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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

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