pre·​sup·​pose | \ ˌprē-sə-ˈpōz How to pronounce presuppose (audio) \
presupposed; presupposing; presupposes

Definition of presuppose

transitive verb

1 : to suppose beforehand
2 : to require as an antecedent in logic or fact

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from presuppose

presupposition \ (ˌ)prē-​ˌsə-​pə-​ˈzi-​shən How to pronounce presupposition (audio) \ noun
presuppositional \ (ˌ)prē-​ˌsə-​pə-​ˈzish-​nəl How to pronounce presuppositional (audio) , -​ˈzi-​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective

Examples of presuppose in a Sentence

The rule presupposes a need to restrict student access to the library. the book presupposes its readers will already know something about the subject

Recent Examples on the Web

Searching for the truth presupposes that there is something to look for. William A. Galston, WSJ, "Today, Truth Itself Can’t Be Taken for Granted," 21 Aug. 2018 But all this presupposes a kind of bureaucratic enforcement that is incipient at best in 1800. Robert Sullivan, Vogue, "What If There Were No Borders?," 30 Nov. 2018 Like so many art market projections, this presupposes continued vigor among the high net worth individuals. Kevin Conley, Town & Country, "You Might Actually Be Able to Afford a Picasso," 1 Apr. 2016 But even this presupposes the U.K. agrees to a Northern Irish backstop deal, without which any debate about the future relationship is whistling in the wind—unless the cabinet thinks the EU is bluffing on this, too. Simon Nixon, WSJ, "Britain’s Brexit Dilemma: Should It Compromise, or Confront the EU?," 4 July 2018 This question presupposes that sports team owners belong in a pantheon — a temple of the gods. Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, "Ranking the best team owners in Bay Area sports history," 12 June 2018 As things stand, the cost of using Carbon Engineering’s kit to scrub 8bn-10bn tonnes of CO2 per year, as the climate models presuppose, would run to trillions of dollars. The Economist, "Extracting carbon dioxide from the air is possible. But at what cost?," 7 June 2018 The people that are part of my life presuppose dignity and respect as foundational in every one of their relationships. NBC News, "After the reckoning: #MeToo, sex and dating in 2018," 19 Apr. 2018 Gorsuch also agreed with the majority in holding that even when levied as a civil penalty, deportation is a sanction serious enough be treated as presupposing a clear standard of unlawful behavior. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "Gorsuch Sides With Court’s Liberals – But Follows Scalia – in Deportation Case," 17 Apr. 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for presuppose

Middle English, from Middle French presupposer, from Medieval Latin praesupponere (perfect indicative praesupposui), from Latin prae- + Medieval Latin supponere to suppose — more at suppose

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about presuppose

Statistics for presuppose

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for presuppose

The first known use of presuppose was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for presuppose



English Language Learners Definition of presuppose

: to be based on the idea that something is true or will happen
: to require or depend on (something) in order to be true or exist

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on presuppose

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for presuppose

Spanish Central: Translation of presuppose

Nglish: Translation of presuppose for Spanish Speakers

Comments on presuppose

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


behavior toward others

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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