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 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



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 Meade says that some companies assume their ability to trust their employees is somehow dependent on their ability to see them. Mark C. Perna, Forbes, 14 Sep. 2021 Upon the death, resignation, or removal of a member of council, the clerk of council shall immediately notify in writing the person designated herein as the successor of such person’s entitlement to assume the office as a member of council. Scott Wartman, The Enquirer, 9 Sep. 2021 Madeline, who lives in a suburban neighborhood, said that those in Queensland should not assume brown snakes are only in wilder areas. Kelli Bender,, 8 Sep. 2021 The Jaguars used another 6-2 start in the fourth set to take advantage of the Rockets’ uneven footing, but Assumption was able to use an 8-1 rally to assume control late and seal the match’s result. Jonathan Saxon, The Courier-Journal, 8 Sep. 2021 The show depicts a future in which a group of religious fanatics assume control of the government after fertility rates collapse and women who can still conceive are enslaved by the ruling class. al, 8 Sep. 2021 Filmmakers and casting directors tended to look at his headshots and assume that a tall dark man with a long vertical scar on his face was best utilized in particular roles and no others. Matt Zoller Seitz, Vulture, 7 Sep. 2021 Kerry Green, an emergency management specialist with the U.S. Forest Service assigned to the Caldor Fire, said the overarching strategy lesson of the past month — and this awful season in general — is to assume wildfires will defy expectations. Julie Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle, 4 Sep. 2021 What’s more anthropocentric is to assume that human beings are so fascinating that aliens want to visit us and study us. Joel Achenbach, Washington Post, 11 Aug. 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.

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

Dictionary Entries Near assume




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for assume

Last Updated

17 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Assume.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Sep. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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.


transitive verb
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

More from Merriam-Webster on assume

Nglish: Translation of assume for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of assume for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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