ascertain

verb
as·​cer·​tain | \ ˌa-sər-ˈtān How to pronounce ascertain (audio) \
ascertained; ascertaining; ascertains

Definition of ascertain

transitive verb

1 : to find out or learn with certainty ascertain the truth trying to ascertain the cause of the fire information that can be easily ascertained on the Internet
2 archaic : to make certain, exact, or precise

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Other Words from ascertain

ascertainable \ ˌa-​sər-​ˈtā-​nə-​bəl How to pronounce ascertain (audio) \ adjective
ascertainment \ ˌa-​sər-​ˈtān-​mənt How to pronounce ascertain (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for ascertain

discover, ascertain, determine, unearth, learn mean to find out what one did not previously know. discover may apply to something requiring exploration or investigation or to a chance encounter. discovered the source of the river 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 determine emphasizes the intent to establish the facts definitely or precisely. unable to determine the origin of the word unearth implies bringing to light something forgotten or hidden. unearth old records 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

Examples of ascertain in a Sentence

We look at digital media—images, audio and video—and we try to ascertain whether or not they've been manipulated. We use mathematical and computational techniques to detect alterations in them. — Claudia Dreifus, New York Times, 2 Oct. 2007 Currently, an official trying to ascertain road damage in the aftermath of an earthquake might have to keep one eye on the TV news while listening to both radio traffic reports and the police scanner. Since most of these data are available in digital form, the software could take them all in, process them and present a report outlining the best evacuation routes. — Kevin Hogan, Technology Review, April 2002 With an equation linking the money wage to prices, the degree of inflation could be ascertained. — Sidney Weintraub, Modern Economic Thought, (1977) 1993
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Recent Examples on the Web And the Soviet wished to ascertain that the Emperor was indeed here. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, National Review, 14 Oct. 2021 But the alarms also are supposed to trigger immediate follow-up actions to quickly ascertain if anything is wrong. Matthew Brown, ajc, 6 Oct. 2021 Then, the full data will be scrutinized by regulators to ascertain that the vaccine is safe and effective. Compiled Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 21 Sep. 2021 Another possible way to have a self-driving car falter when using an offramp would be to have the AI driving system fail to ascertain that the offramp is an offramp. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 13 Sep. 2021 And the goal is to just ascertain which kinds of students were most likely to have miss school during the pandemic? Shannon Rae Green, USA TODAY, 22 Aug. 2021 Results from ballot-counting machines and the results of the hand counting will be compared in order to ascertain whether there were any issues with the area's voting technology. Haley Victory Smith, Washington Examiner, 10 Mar. 2021 When comparing the situation to that of a normal crossing guard, there are apparent mismatches and thus the human would ascertain this is not a crossing guard instance. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 3 Sep. 2021 The only local health order in place applies to businesses that must ascertain the vaccination status of their workers. Chronicle Staff, San Francisco Chronicle, 13 June 2021

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for ascertain

Middle English acertainen to inform, give assurance to, from Anglo-French acerteiner, from a- (from Latin ad-) + certein, certain certain

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Time Traveler for ascertain

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near ascertain

ascent

ascertain

ascesis

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Statistics for ascertain

Last Updated

19 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ascertain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ascertain. Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for ascertain

ascertain

verb
as·​cer·​tain | \ ˌa-sər-ˈtān How to pronounce ascertain (audio) \
ascertained; ascertaining

Kids Definition of ascertain

: to find out with certainty Police tried to ascertain the cause of the accident.

More from Merriam-Webster on ascertain

Nglish: Translation of ascertain for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ascertain for Arabic Speakers

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