as·sume | \ ə-ˈsüm \
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 \ noun
assumable \-ˈsü-mə-bəl \ adjective
assumably \-blē \ 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

The court and the confirmation process have become so politicized precisely because the court has overstepped its proper bounds to assume authority over many important and controversial areas of national life best left to the democratic process. Jack Goldsmith, Time, "Brett Kavanaugh Will Right the Course of the Supreme Court," 12 July 2018 Vijay Bhaskar of Mlinda says a big mistake in development has been to assume that, once people are hooked up to electricity, businesses will automatically flourish. The Economist, "Mini-grids could be a boon to poor people in Africa and Asia," 12 July 2018 Though Microsoft sells the keyboard separately on the Surface Pro, its presence is virtually assumed. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Microsoft's $399, 10-inch Surface Go rethinks the Windows tablet for consumers," 9 July 2018 Some estimates—including those of EPA—are based on assumed leakage rates for natural gas drilling processes, and piping and storage equipment that are drawn from the scientific literature. Warren Cornwall, Science | AAAS, "Natural gas could warm the planet as much as coal in the short term," 21 June 2018 Don’t automatically assume that either of you are down for a make out. Yerin Kim, Seventeen, "11 Mistakes to Avoid During a Hot Makeout Sesh," 12 June 2018 Schmidt said that after 90 minutes or so, a rescue effort typically turns into a body recover, assuming the man did not find his way out of the rapidly moving water. Mike Danahey, Elgin Courier-News, "Divers search for man who went into Fox River in downtown Elgin during fireworks show," 5 July 2018 The three new commanders assuming their new jobs reduces the unprecedented number of vacancies from five to two in a job category that has just eight positions. Rafael Guerrero, Naperville Sun, "Naperville police swear in new commanders, sergeants and officers to fill ranks after flood of retirements," 22 June 2018 But no, people are just that excited to assume the role of mecha warrior President Wilson and save the country from evil — if only as a way to relish in the absurdity of the actual state of current American politics. Nick Statt, The Verge, "How a tweet brought mecha cult classic Metal Wolf Chaos back to life 15 years later," 14 June 2018

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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Phrases Related to assume

assumed name

Statistics for assume

Last Updated

5 Sep 2018

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 \
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

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


to make amends

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