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 These rules assume that people are incapable of understanding their own circumstances and interests, as well as basic financial concepts. WSJ, "Should 401(k) Withdrawals Be Easier?," 6 Feb. 2021 Both papers assume that people have received both doses of the vaccine. David Hogberg, Washington Examiner, "Fast track back to normal depends on next few weeks of vaccination campaign, epidemiologists say," 5 Feb. 2021 Even when content is monetized, some players assume that custom content is free and belongs to everyone, without the need to credit the people who created it. Robin Mosley, Wired, "Inside the World of Young Black Sims Content Creators," 4 Feb. 2021 Many assume that the person paying student loan debt can only benefit from the related interest deduction. Tom Cooney And Crystal Faulkner, The Enquirer, "BusinessWise: Don't miss out on these tax-saving tips," 2 Feb. 2021 Economists assume that the European Union will succeed in substantially ramping up vaccination by spring, allowing restrictions to be gradually lifted. New York Times, "Slow Pace of Vaccinations Pushes Europe Toward Second Economic Slump," 2 Feb. 2021 So Torres was moved to tears to see Harris — a Black and South Asian woman who served, until Monday, as a U.S. senator from California — assume the second-highest office in the land. Los Angeles Times, "For some Americans, Biden-Harris inauguration reassures: ‘We’re going to be OK’," 20 Jan. 2021 Players assume the role of returning protagonist Ethan Winters as former Resident Evil hero Chris Redfield traps him in a village full of werewolves and other horrors. Joshua Rivera, Vulture, "24 Games We Can’t Wait to Play in 2021," 15 Jan. 2021 Many fans assume these lyrics refer to Taylor's old BFF, Karlie Kloss. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Fans Are Convinced Taylor Swift’s New Song "It's Time To Go" Is About Her Ex-BFF Karlie Kloss," 11 Jan. 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

13 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Assume.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 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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