assume

verb
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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Synonyms

Antonyms

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Maritza, 14, assumes the taunts that accompanied Trump's last campaign will intensify with this one, too. Anchorage Daily News, "Trump’s rhetoric has changed the way kids are bullied in classrooms," 14 Feb. 2020 If the price of parking goes up, Burks assumes those people would simply drive to work. Rachel Swan, SFChronicle.com, "Could this be the end of $3 parking at BART lots?," 13 Feb. 2020 The predictions assumes no new laws and regulations on CO2 emissions. L.m. Sixel, Houston Chronicle, "Retiring coal plants, renewables will cut CO2 emissions," 11 Feb. 2020 Kington, president of Grinnell College in Iowa since 2010, assumes his new position this summer. John Laidler, BostonGlobe.com, "Grinnell College president to lead Phillips Academy Andover," 11 Feb. 2020 Each scenario assumes a different level of future greenhouse gas emissions and global carbon dioxide concentrations, translating to different levels of warming. Chelsea Harvey, Scientific American, "The Worst Climate Scenarios May No Longer Be the Most Likely," 30 Jan. 2020 So while there is some talk of extending tax credits for renewable energy facilities, which has happened in the past, the report assumes that these policies will terminate in the near future as planned. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "US government sees renewables passing natural gas in 20 years," 30 Jan. 2020 That, of course, assumes that President Trump wins a second term, and keeps Esper as his defense secretary. Jamie Mcintyre, Washington Examiner, "Esper warns of tough decisions in Pentagon budget due out next month," 28 Jan. 2020 Cyberloafing and stress Existing research on cyberloafing, a term first coined in 2002 by researchers from the National University of Singapore, typically assumes that this behavior is problematic and counterproductive. Stephanie Andel, The Conversation, "Why bosses should let employees surf the web at work," 17 Jan. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about assume

Time Traveler for assume

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for assume

Last Updated

21 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Assume.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/assume. Accessed 22 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for assume

assume

verb
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

assume

verb
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.
as·​sume
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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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).

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!