assume

verb
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

Synonyms

accept, bear, shoulder, take over, undertake

Antonyms

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

So many of the great American writers were drunks — Chandler, Cheever, Faulkner, Fitzgerald — that writing, one assumed, must be enhanced, even made possible, by a drink... or, even better, a whole bottle. Constance Grady, Vox, "On January 1, dozens of literary classics will enter the public domain," 29 Dec. 2018 But the group's scientists worry that without a study, NASA will simply assume a lander isn't feasible — and in the process, shortchange the scientific merit of the smallest planet. Meghan Bartels, Space.com, "What Would It Take to Land on Mercury? It's Time to Find Out, Scientists Say," 30 Aug. 2018 In November 2014, Republicans won 13 House seats and, more importantly, nine Senate seats to take a majority in the upper chamber and assume full control of Congress. Dylan Scott, Vox, "Why the blame game over the government shutdown is pointless," 21 Dec. 2018 Most sizing charts for women assume an hourglass figure, and many women are not that shape. Alyssa Hardy, Teen Vogue, "Here's Why Clothing Sizes Are Inconsistent," 21 Dec. 2018 Worse, this pattern is repeated all over the world, assuming serious proportions in places that were already dry. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Climate Change Will Bring Us Heavy Rains and Droughts at the Same Time," 14 Dec. 2018 Allen said everyone involved in Last Man Standing wrongly assumed Hillary Clinton would win the 2016 presidential election. Megan Friedman, Country Living, "The New Season of ‘Last Man Standing’ Won’t Talk About President Trump," 3 Aug. 2018 Not only has Twitter had to try to eliminate Russian bots, scammers have tried to steal cryptocurrency from fellow users by assuming the identity of important users. Lucinda Shen, Fortune, "Twitter Sheds $3.1 Billion After Suspending Millions of Questionable Accounts," 9 July 2018 Cost isn’t the issue, assuming Anthony signed for the mid-level exception of about $5 million. Dave Hyde, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Hyde5: Would Carmelo Anthony really help the Heat?," 9 July 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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Statistics for assume

Last Updated

10 Jan 2019

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

assume

verb

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 \
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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with assume

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for assume

Spanish Central: Translation of assume

Nglish: Translation of assume for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of assume for Arabic Speakers

Comments on assume

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