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

transitive verb

: to suppose beforehand
: to require as an antecedent in logic or fact
presupposition noun
presuppositional 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 Community, in its setting of boundaries (this, not that; here, not, there), presupposes a degree of conflict. Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times, 19 Mar. 2024 Benatar also presupposes that his critics will contend that the good in life is sufficient to neutralize the bad, and that not giving potential beings the gift of life is its own kind of harm. Elizabeth Barber, Harper's Magazine, 2 Feb. 2024 Other theories of value that came before, such as the classical theory of value outlined by Adam Smith, and leading, perhaps ironically, to the Marxian theories of labor and power, presupposes the existence of value as a separate, measurable property that is only approximated by price. Dave Birnbaum, Forbes, 19 Feb. 2024 This question presupposes there is a coherent immigration and border policy currently in place. Gillian Brassil, Sacramento Bee, 5 Feb. 2024 And yet, the narrative peddled by Trump and his courtiers conveniently presupposes that Republicans didn’t start losing big at the ballot box until the summer of 2022. Noah Rothman, National Review, 17 Jan. 2024 Vaccine distribution also presupposes that people are willing to be vaccinated. Tara C. Smith, Foreign Affairs, 23 Nov. 2020 This revealing comment presupposes little has changed since March 2020. The Editors, National Review, 31 Aug. 2023 But there is no way to reconcile, much less calibrate, the creation of a tribunal that presupposes Russian regime change with U.S. war aims, which very plainly disavow that goal. Rebecca Hamilton, Foreign Affairs, 12 July 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'presuppose.' 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, from Middle French presupposer, from Medieval Latin praesupponere (perfect indicative praesupposui), from Latin prae- + Medieval Latin supponere to suppose — more at suppose

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near presuppose

Cite this Entry

“Presuppose.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


pre·​sup·​pose ˌprē-sə-ˈpōz How to pronounce presuppose (audio)
: to take something to be true : suppose ahead of time
the book presupposes its readers will know something about the subject
presupposition noun

More from Merriam-Webster on presuppose

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