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 assume (audio) \ noun
assumable \ ə-​ˈsü-​mə-​bəl How to pronounce assume (audio) \ adjective
assumably \ ə-​ˈsü-​mə-​blē How to pronounce assume (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 Hurst could assume the off-the-bench role of former 49ers defensive tackle Solomon Thomas, who signed with the Raiders last month. Eric Branch, San Francisco Chronicle, "49ers sign ex-Raiders defensive tackle Maurice Hurst," 22 Apr. 2021 Beginning May 1, counties will assume authority in overseeing coronavirus mitigation measures, and on Tuesday, Clark County (of which Vegas is a part) approved plans to operate at 80% capacity with three feet of social distance. Lisa Fung, Los Angeles Times, "COVID pushed Cirque du Soleil into bankruptcy protection. Now for a Vegas comeback," 21 Apr. 2021 Deemer, who has served as the alliance’s executive vice president of development since 2011, will assume the interim role on May 1, the day Joe Marinucci retires from those positions. cleveland, "Downtown Cleveland Alliance taps interim president, CEO," 19 Apr. 2021 Never assume somebody else is going to take care of it. Dave Lieber, Dallas News, "Grieving parents say the (p)UC needs to be a regulator, not an enabler of electric utilities," 15 Apr. 2021 On the other hand, people might assume your children are your grandchildren. Washington Post, "Some young women embraced their gray hair during the pandemic. They might not go back.," 12 Apr. 2021 Just assume that there aren’t many cars with driving controls, thus, even if a human wanted to go for a drive, there aren’t any cars around to do so. Lance Eliot, Forbes, "Here’s Why Some Are Vehemently And Diametrically Opposed To Self-Driving Cars," 5 Apr. 2021 In the meantime, fans will assume that such additions all but guarantee banners being hung and rings being given. Eric Walden, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Eric Walden: Is the NBA buyout market actually the devil incarnate? Well then, allow me to play devil’s advocate.," 3 Apr. 2021 In such a society, where the boundary between mass communication and in-person conversation is more porous, everyday talk can assume the tones and tics of media. Anna Wiener, The New Yorker, "Clubhouse Feels Like a Party," 31 Mar. 2021

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

26 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Assume.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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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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Comments on assume

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