pre·​sump·​tion | \ pri-ˈzəm(p)-shən How to pronounce presumption (audio) \

Definition of presumption

1 : presumptuous attitude or conduct : audacity
2a : an attitude or belief dictated by probability : assumption
b : the ground, reason, or evidence lending probability to a belief
3 : a legal inference as to the existence or truth of a fact not certainly known that is drawn from the known or proved existence of some other fact

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Examples of presumption in a Sentence

The trial was unfair from the beginning because there was no presumption of innocence. a defendant's right to a presumption of innocence
Recent Examples on the Web There would be a rebuttable presumption that the conviction was based on activity that would not have been a crime if committed after the use of recreational marijuana by adults became legal in December 2018. Angie Jackson, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan criminal record expungement bills head to Whitmer's desk," 24 Sep. 2020 There is no presumption that any sorrow or despair will be erased. Corina Knoll, New York Times, "How New Yorkers Found Resolve After 6 Months of Pandemic Hardship," 23 Sep. 2020 The student was admitted on the presumption of playing for a UCSD sports team, and never did. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, "State audit: UCSD inappropriately admitted ‘athlete’ as favor to Athletic Board member," 22 Sep. 2020 Ruling him, too, was humor, if that’s the right word for sabotaging anyone’s presumption to know his mind. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, "Goya and the Art of Survival," 14 Sep. 2020 County leaders, through jail diversion, conditional releases granted by judges and legal presumption of eligibility for personal recognizance bonds for nonviolent offenders, had reduced the jail population from about 3,900 to 2,900. Scott Huddleston,, "Jail working conditions compared to that of ‘coal mine’," 10 Sep. 2020 Senate Bill 216 would have changed the burden of proof and given these injured and the dependents of those who died a rebuttable presumption that their exposure occurred on the job. Dp Opinion, The Denver Post, "Letters: National popular vote is a change that follows the Constitution (6/19/20)," 19 June 2020 The National Academies panel proposes a four-phase approach, based on the presumption that when a vaccine first becomes available, only 10 million to 15 million courses of vaccine will likely be immediately available. Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY, "Report: Coronavirus vaccine shouldn't be first-come, first-served," 1 Sep. 2020 But that presumption can be overcome with evidence that the use of force was unreasonable. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "17-year-old suspect in Kenosha shootings was too young to open carry in Wisconsin, might still raise self-defense," 26 Aug. 2020

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

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for presumption

Middle English presumpcioun, from Anglo-French presumption, from Late Latin & Latin; Late Latin praesumption-, praesumptio presumptuous attitude, from Latin, assumption, from praesumere

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Time Traveler for presumption

Time Traveler

The first known use of presumption was in the 13th century

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Statistics for presumption

Last Updated

30 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Presumption.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for presumption


How to pronounce presumption (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of presumption

: a belief that something is true even though it has not been proved
law : an act of accepting that something is true until it is proved not true
formal : willingness to do something without the right or permission to do it


pre·​sump·​tion | \ pri-ˈzəmp-shən How to pronounce presumption (audio) \

Kids Definition of presumption

1 : behavior or attitude going beyond what is proper
2 : a strong reason for believing something to be so
3 : something believed to be so but not proved


pre·​sump·​tion | \ pri-ˈzəmp-shən How to pronounce presumption (audio) \

Legal Definition of presumption

: an inference as to the existence of a fact not certainly known that the law requires to be drawn from the known or proven existence of some other fact
conclusive presumption
: a presumption that the law does not allow to be rebutted

called also irrebuttable presumption

— compare rebuttable presumption in this entry
mandatory presumption
: a presumption that a jury is required by law to make upon proof of a given fact — compare permissive presumption in this entry
permissive presumption
: an inference or presumption that a jury is allowed but not required to make from a given set of facts

called also permissive inference

— compare mandatory presumption in this entry
presumption of fact
: a presumption founded on a previous experience or on general knowledge of a connection between a known fact and one inferred from it
presumption of innocence
: a rebuttable presumption in the favor of the defendant in a criminal action imposing on the prosecution the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt
presumption of intent
: a permissive presumption that if a criminal defendant committed an act it was his or her intent to commit it
presumption of law
: a presumption (as of the innocence of a criminal defendant) founded on a rule or policy of law regardless of fact
presumption of survivorship
: the presumption in the absence of direct evidence that of two or more persons dying in a common disaster (as a fire) one was the last to die because of youth, strength, or other reasons rendering survivorship likely
rebuttable presumption
: a presumption that may be rebutted by evidence to the contrary — compare conclusive presumption in this entry

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