Synonym Chooser

How does the verb ascertain contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of ascertain are determine, discover, learn, and unearth. While all these words mean "to find out what one did not previously know," ascertain implies effort to find the facts or the truth proceeding from awareness of ignorance or uncertainty.

attempts to ascertain the population of the region

When is determine a more appropriate choice than ascertain?

The meanings of determine and ascertain largely overlap; however, determine emphasizes the intent to establish the facts definitely or precisely.

unable to determine the origin of the word

When would discover be a good substitute for ascertain?

While in some cases nearly identical to ascertain, discover may apply to something requiring exploration or investigation or to a chance encounter.

discovered the source of the river

In what contexts can learn take the place of ascertain?

The words learn and ascertain can be used in similar contexts, but learn may imply acquiring knowledge with little effort or conscious intention (as by simply being told) or it may imply study and practice.

I learned her name only today
learning Greek

When can unearth be used instead of ascertain?

The words unearth and ascertain are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, unearth implies bringing to light something forgotten or hidden.

unearth old records

Thesaurus Entries Near ascertain

Cite this Entry

“Ascertain.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on ascertain

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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