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

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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

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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 Buyers may simply assume that because everyone else is passing it up, there’s something wrong with it. Shannon Cobb Evans, Houston Chronicle, "Realtor View: What should you do to help sell your home?," 9 Nov. 2019 To assume this one was not an immediate threat was not ignorant. Tessa Love, Longreads, "California Burning," 8 Nov. 2019 But assume a bidder must pay a proper top-up — say, 20%-30% — and things get really ambitious. Chris Hughes | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "How the World’s Biggest Leveraged Buyout Could Be Done," 8 Nov. 2019 Just a few years ago, conventional thinking assumed Silicon Valley’s tech heavyweights held the upper hand in producing the next generation of vehicles. chicagotribune.com, "Motor City stakes claim to be capital of autos’ future," 8 Nov. 2019 Many pundits assumed the heart attack was a death knell for a campaign dependent on the candidate’s insurgent energy, and early polling bore that out. BostonGlobe.com, "“Getting a little tired, but you would too,” Sanders practically yelled, lifting his arms for a shrug as the voters in front of him laughed and cheered. “I’m feeling good.”," 8 Nov. 2019 Retailers, instead, target people based on online shopping behavior (for example, by assuming households that have bought dog food recently have pets). Sidney Fussell, The Atlantic, "Why Politicians Want Your Smart-TV Data," 8 Nov. 2019 Over a decade ago, hospital executives could safely assume that patients with health insurance probably could pay their medical bills. Sarah Kliff, New York Times, "With Medical Bills Skyrocketing, More Hospitals Are Suing for Payment," 8 Nov. 2019 In one card, the artist himself poses as the Magician, and in another, his wife, Gala Dalí, assumes the role of the Empress. Nina Kravinsky, Smithsonian, "See Surreal Tarot Cards Designed by Salvador Dalí for a James Bond Movie," 7 Nov. 2019

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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Statistics for assume

Last Updated

14 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for assume

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

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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

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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

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