as·​sume | \ ə-ˈsüm How to pronounce assume (audio) \
assumed; assuming

Definition of assume

transitive verb

1a : to take to or upon oneself : undertake assume responsibility
b : to place oneself in assume a position
2 : seize, usurp assume control
3 : to pretend to have or be : feign assumed an air of confidence in spite of her nervousness
4 : to take as granted or true : suppose I assume he'll be there.
5 : to take over (the debts of another) as one's own
6 : put on, don Mrs. Fairfax assumed her best black satin gown, her gloves, and her gold watch.— Charlotte Brontë
7a : to take up or in : receive
b : to take into partnership, employment, or use

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Other Words from assume

assumability \ ə-​ˌsü-​mə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce assumability (audio) \ noun
assumable \ ə-​ˈsü-​mə-​bəl How to pronounce assumable (audio) \ adjective
assumably \ ə-​ˈsü-​mə-​blē How to pronounce assumably (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for assume



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Choose the Right Synonym for assume

assume, affect, pretend, simulate, feign, counterfeit, sham mean to put on a false or deceptive appearance. assume often implies a justifiable motive rather than an intent to deceive. assumed an air of cheerfulness around the patients affect implies making a false show of possessing, using, or feeling. affected an interest in art pretend implies an overt and sustained false appearance. pretended that nothing had happened simulate suggests a close imitation of the appearance of something. cosmetics that simulate a suntan feign implies more artful invention than pretend, less specific mimicry than simulate. feigned sickness counterfeit implies achieving the highest degree of verisimilitude of any of these words. an actor counterfeiting drunkenness sham implies an obvious falseness that fools only the gullible. shammed a most unconvincing limp

The Difference Between Assume and Presume

Assume and presume both mean "to take something for granted" or "to take something as true," but the words differ in the degree of confidence the person assuming or presuming has. Presume is used when someone is making an informed guess based on reasonable evidence. Assume is used when the guess is based on little or no evidence.

Presume functions a little differently in the legal catchphrase "presumed innocent until proven guilty." That sense of presume is separately defined as "to suppose to be true without proof." It is based on the fact that legal systems grant a defendant the presumption of innocence, thereby placing the burden of proof on the prosecution.

Examples of assume in a Sentence

I assumed he was coming, so I was surprised when he didn't show up. She assumed from his expression that he was confused. We'll be arriving around noon. That's assuming that our flight is on time. The king assumed the throne when he was very young. Under certain conditions, the chemical will assume the appearance of ice.
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Recent Examples on the Web The Washington region is just weeks from having enough testing equipment, laboratory capacity and contact tracers to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, assuming the public cooperates, officials said. Washington Post, "D.C. region will have enough testing and tracing capacity by July to contain coronavirus, officials say," 25 May 2020 But assuming an on-time launch and problem-free climb to space, Hurley and Behnken will check out the Crew Dragon's systems and take a few moments to test its manual control system before calling it a day. William Harwood, CBS News, ""It's tremendously exciting": NASA astronauts counting down to historic launch aboard SpaceX Crew Dragon this week," 25 May 2020 So, assuming the rules above take place, which Reds players could benefit the most? Bobby Nightengale,, "Which Cincinnnati Reds players benefit the most from an expanded roster/taxi squad?," 24 May 2020 Goldman Sachs, a bank, expects the economy to contract by 45% this quarter at an annualised rate, and by 5% over the full year, assuming a big bounce in the second half. The Economist, "Lockdown and out India’s economy has suffered even more than most," 23 May 2020 Alam ordered his team to evacuate residents to safety, but many initially decided to stay home assuming the storm would dissipate. Arun Devnath,, "Millions Face Virus Contagion Risk in Cyclone-Hit South Asia," 22 May 2020 President Ronald Reagan attempted to fire and replace all currently serving inspectors general upon his assuming office in 1981. Stanley M. Brand, The Conversation, "Congress may not like it when Trump fires an inspector general – but it can’t do anything to stop him," 22 May 2020 This often results in dark, dirty water surging up from the drain, which many assume is the odor-causing grime being lifted from the dirty disposal and drain. Jessica Bennett, Better Homes & Gardens, "Should You Try that Viral Garbage Disposal Hack? A Plumbing Expert Weighs In," 22 May 2020 This is, of course assuming the power source can maximize the chargers. K.c. Colwell, Car and Driver, "How Long Does it Take to Charge an EV?," 22 May 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'assume.' 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 assume

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 7a

History and Etymology for assume

Middle English, from Latin assumere, from ad- + sumere to take — more at consume

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Time Traveler for assume

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for assume

Last Updated

29 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Assume.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for assume


How to pronounce assume (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of assume

: to think that something is true or probably true without knowing that it is true
: to begin (a role, duty, etc.) as a job or responsibility
: to take or begin to have (power, control, etc.) in a job or situation


as·​sume | \ ə-ˈsüm How to pronounce assume (audio) \
assumed; assuming

Kids Definition of assume

1 : to begin to take on or perform assume responsibility assumed the presidency
2 : to take or begin to have The problem assumes greater importance now.
3 : to pretend to have or be We both assumed an air of weary worldliness …— Richard Peck, A Long Way From Chicago
4 : to accept as true I assume you're right.
assumed; assuming

Legal Definition of assume

1 : to voluntarily take upon oneself assume a risk
2 : to take over (the debts or obligations of another) as one's own assume a mortgage

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More from Merriam-Webster on assume

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for assume

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with assume

Spanish Central: Translation of assume

Nglish: Translation of assume for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of assume for Arabic Speakers

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