presume

verb
pre·​sume | \ pri-ˈzüm How to pronounce presume (audio) \
presumed; presuming

Definition of presume

transitive verb

1 : to undertake without leave or clear justification : dare
2 : to expect or assume especially with confidence
3 : to suppose to be true without proof presumed innocent until proved guilty
4 : to take for granted : imply

intransitive verb

1 : to act or proceed presumptuously or on a presumption
2 : to go beyond what is right or proper

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Other Words from presume

presumedly \ pri-​ˈzü-​məd-​lē How to pronounce presumedly (audio) , -​ˈzümd-​lē How to pronounce presumedly (audio) \ adverb
presumer noun

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 presume in a Sentence

“Is she still at work?” “I presume so, since she's not home.” The court must presume innocence until there is proof of guilt.

Recent Examples on the Web

But Mulroney’s silence on her surrogate sister is also presumed to be in keeping with Palace rules. Michelle Ruiz, Marie Claire, "I Respect Jessica Mulroney's Hustle—and Her Loyalty to Meghan Markle," 18 Dec. 2018 By pursuing its own selfish interests, each state was presumed to contribute to progress, as if some unseen hand were guaranteeing that freedom of choice for each state assured well-being for all. WSJ, "Nationalism Unites but Tribalism Divides," 14 Nov. 2018 If the voter fails to respond and does not vote in the next two elections, that person is presumed to have moved and removed from the rolls. The Washington Post, OregonLive.com, "Supreme Court upholds Ohio's purges of its voter rolls," 11 June 2018 Nearly one-quarter of these are presumed to be civilians. Allie Morris, Houston Chronicle, "Report: An estimated 4.3 million Texan workers don’t have access to paid sick leave," 5 June 2018 Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist, disappeared Oct. 2 after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and is presumed dead. Rory Jones And Summer Said, WSJ, "Jamal Khashoggi’s Death Fuels a Middle East Information War," 20 Oct. 2018 Just consider the latest headline-making watch: a Rolex Submariner owned and worn by none other than Steve McQueen, a piece presumed dead. Cam Wolf, GQ, "Steve McQueen’s Destroyed-in-a-Wildfire Rolex Is Going Up for Auction," 5 June 2018 She, her wife and all six children are known or presumed dead. OregonLive.com, "Devonte Hart's mother: tracing her life from the Midwest to her drive off the California cliff," 21 Apr. 2018 Today, Berman is long dead and Kathleen Durst has been missing for more than three decades and is presumed dead. NBC News, "Robert Durst, scowling, faces photos of slain friend at murder hearing," 17 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'presume.' 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 presume

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for presume

Middle English, from Late Latin & Anglo-French; Anglo-French presumer, from Late Latin praesumere to dare, from Latin, to anticipate, assume, from prae- + sumere to take — more at consume

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Statistics for presume

Last Updated

4 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for presume

The first known use of presume was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for presume

presume

verb

English Language Learners Definition of presume

: to think that (something) is true without knowing that it is true
: to accept legally or officially that something is true until it is proved not true
formal : to do (something) that you do not have the right or permission to do

presume

verb
pre·​sume | \ pri-ˈzüm How to pronounce presume (audio) \
presumed; presuming

Kids Definition of presume

1 : to undertake without permission or good reason : dare They … did not presume to talk to their masters as if they were their equals.— Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden
2 : to suppose to be true without proof A person is presumed innocent until proved guilty.

presume

transitive verb
pre·​sume | \ pri-ˈzüm How to pronounce presume (audio) \
presumed; presuming

Legal Definition of presume

: to suppose to be true without proof or before inquiry : accept as a presumption must presume the defendant is innocent

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More from Merriam-Webster on presume

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with presume

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for presume

Spanish Central: Translation of presume

Nglish: Translation of presume for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of presume for Arabic Speakers

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