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

Synonyms & Antonyms for assume


accept, bear, shoulder, take over, undertake


disavow, disclaim, disown, repudiate

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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

That is, assuming something isn’t quietly done already. Albert Breer,, "After Firing GM Brian Gaine, Where Do the Texans Go From Here?," 10 June 2019 The companies, which together have a market value of roughly $166 billion, could announce a deal in the coming days assuming talks don’t fall apart at the last minute, the person said. Cara Lombardo, WSJ, "Raytheon, United Technologies in Talks to Merge," 9 June 2019 Not bad for a sophomore starting in the state finals after just recently assuming full-time starting pitching duties. Matthew Vantryon, Indianapolis Star, "New Palestine's 3-peat stems from a winning culture that won't any time stop soon," 8 June 2019 Nirenberg’s campaign felt there were many voters who assumed the mayor would win comfortably in the first round and stayed home. Dylan Mcguinness,, "San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg wins second term after bruising battle," 8 June 2019 Obviously, Taylor's sleuthing fans know that nothing the singer does is without meaning, and many assumed that the typo was on purpose. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Taylor Swift’s New Merch is Going Viral and The Reason is Hilarious," 7 June 2019 It was supposed to be a week-long assignment, covering what everyone assumed would be a picture-perfect counter-revolution, but with every new day the conflict grew deeper, darker, and more complicated. Annika Hernroth-rothstein, National Review, "I Was Kidnapped in Venezuela," 7 June 2019 Stadia Pro gives you 4K, 60fps streaming with HDR and 5.1 surround sound assuming you’ve got the required 35Mbps of bandwidth, plus access to Stadia’s eventual free catalog, and exclusive discounts on games. Sean Hollister, The Verge, "Google’s Stadia game service is officially coming November: Everything you need to know," 6 June 2019 The 2015-16 squad sends an important warning about assuming experience will translate to success as well. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, "Will the experience of John Calipari's 2019-20 Kentucky team deliver a Final Four?," 6 June 2019

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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Statistics for assume

Last Updated

13 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for assume

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

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More Definitions for assume



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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with assume

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for assume

Spanish Central: Translation of assume

Nglish: Translation of assume for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of assume for Arabic Speakers

Comments on assume

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


to take the place or position of

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