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 But a new eye-opening report from The Commonwealth Fund, a nonprofit health care think tank, shows just how wrong that presumption is. Next Avenue, Forbes, 15 Oct. 2021 Here too was another example — in this case an A.C.L.U. affiliate — of seemingly overriding its traditional insistence on the presumption of innocence. New York Times, 6 June 2021 Were the doctors willing to bet someone’s life on that presumption? Benjamin Mazer, The Atlantic, 11 May 2021 On the presumption that the Nuggets are the only West team in the playoffs with serious health issues, how far do the Suns go? Matt Eppers, USA TODAY, 14 Apr. 2021 A whopping 86 weeks of theater offerings will be staged during the 2021-2022 season — an agenda built on a presumption of inviting full-capacity ticket-buying audiences, with no requirement for social distancing. Washington Post, 14 Apr. 2021 Though Malik Sharif had been rattling the ice cubes in his empty glass, Sohel did not offer him another drink, minding this presumption with the servant. Daniyal Mueenuddin, The New Yorker, 31 Aug. 2021 On Friday, Navarrete's attorney said the senator had no comment and pointed to the importance of the presumption of innocence until a prosecution is finished. Mary Jo Pitzl, The Arizona Republic, 10 Aug. 2021 The presumption was that white parents and administrators would not underfund schools that Black children attended if white children were also students there. Jelani Cobb, The New Yorker, 13 Sep. 2021

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

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

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Last Updated

25 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Presumption.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for presumption



English Language Learners Definition of presumption

: a belief that something is true even though it has not been proved
: an act of accepting that something is true until it is proved not true
: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on presumption

Nglish: Translation of presumption for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of presumption for Arabic Speakers


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