presume

verb
pre·​sume | \ pri-ˈzüm \
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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from presume

presumedly \ pri-​ˈzü-​məd-​lē , -​ˈzümd-​lē \ 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

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 The biggest reveal is the briefest glimpse of Alice, presumed dead under mysterious circumstances since season 4. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Luther is back and as broody as ever in new trailer for fifth season," 29 Nov. 2018 The man was presumed dead after the Bombardier Q400 crashed. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Airline Employee Crashes Plane Taken From Seattle-Tacoma Airport," 11 Aug. 2018 At the start of the series, one young girl, Ann Nash (Kaegan Baron) has already been murdered, while another, Natalie Keene (Jessica Treska), is missing and (despite all efforts to believe otherwise) presumed dead. refinery29.com, "Sharp Objects Review: It’s Exactly What You Need During The Big Little Lies Drought," 5 July 2018 Season 3 opens where The Defenders left off: with Matt Murdock (aka Daredevil) caught in a massive explosion that leaves him near death—indeed, he's been presumed dead by his friends all this time. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Wilson Fisk is back and better than ever in season 3 of Daredevil," 12 Nov. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about presume

Statistics for presume

Last Updated

7 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for presume

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 \
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 \
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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on presume

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

WORD OF THE DAY

excited commotion or publicity

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!