pre·​sump·​tion pri-ˈzəm(p)-shən How to pronounce presumption (audio)
: presumptuous attitude or conduct : audacity
: an attitude or belief dictated by probability : assumption
: the ground, reason, or evidence lending probability to a belief
: 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

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 Trump, Huawei, and the Politics of Extradition Trump’s comments about the Meng case jeopardize the presumption of good faith and regular process that make cross-border law enforcement cooperation possible. Foreign Affairs, 10 June 2024 The presumption of innocence is recognized as one of our due process rights under the 5th Amendment of The United States Constitution. Reader Commentary, Baltimore Sun, 9 Mar. 2024 Their willingness to ignore the presumption of innocence principle, which is the foundation of the American Criminal Justice System, is shocking. Reader Commentary, Baltimore Sun, 9 Mar. 2024 The presumption has been that Democrats were skeptical of the Kingdom for its human rights abuses and Prince Mohammad would be more likely to green-light the agreement and its nuclear component if asked to do so by a Democratic president. Margaret Brennan, CBS News, 19 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for presumption 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'presumption.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near presumption

Cite this Entry

“Presumption.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


pre·​sump·​tion pri-ˈzəm(p)-shən How to pronounce presumption (audio)
: presumptuous attitude or behavior
: strong reason for believing something to be so in spite of lack of proof
: something believed but not proved

Legal Definition


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

More from Merriam-Webster on presumption

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