as·​sert | \ ə-ˈsərt How to pronounce assert (audio) , a- \
asserted; asserting; asserts

Essential Meaning of assert

1 : to state (something) in a strong and definite way "Poverty is the city's most serious problem," the authors assert. = The authors assert that poverty is the city's most serious problem. He asserted that there were spies in the government. Despite the evidence against him, he has continued to assert his innocence. [=has continued to say that he is innocent]
2 : to demand that other people accept or respect (something) She asserted her independence from her parents by getting her own apartment. The boss was reluctant to assert his authority over his employees.

Full Definition of assert

transitive verb

1a : to state or declare positively and often forcefully or aggressively The suspect continued to assert his innocence.
b : to compel or demand acceptance or recognition of (something, such as one's authority) … the confrontations that inevitably occur [between orangutans] when several males try to assert dominance … Wallace asserted control early—shutting down both candidates when they tried to talk over one another, and shushing the audience when it reacted too audibly.— Glenn Thrush
2a : to demonstrate the existence of He wished to vindicate himself in some way, to assert his manhood.— James Joyce
assert oneself
1 : to speak or act in a manner that compels recognition especially of one's rights … she wants him to learn to assert himself with people in positions of authority.— Malcolm Gladwell … a long-suffering Irish community asserted itself by putting its own politicians in power.— Ellis Cose
2 : to become more strongly apparent : to become clearly seen, known, or experienced Unbidden, a glint asserts itself in Ms. Brown's eyes …— Joanne Kaufman … a passion that through its long suppression was now asserting itself with volcanic necessity.— Zadie Smith

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Other Words from assert

assertible \ ə-​ˈsər-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce assert (audio) , a-​ \ adjective
an assertible defense

Choose the Right Synonym for assert

assert, declare, affirm, protest, avow mean to state positively usually in anticipation of denial or objection. assert implies stating confidently without need for proof or regard for evidence. asserted that modern music is just noise declare stresses open or public statement. declared her support for the candidate affirm implies conviction based on evidence, experience, or faith. affirmed the existence of an afterlife protest emphasizes affirming in the face of denial or doubt. protested that he really had been misquoted avow stresses frank declaration and acknowledgment of personal responsibility for what is declared. avowed that all investors would be repaid in full

synonyms see in addition maintain

Examples of assert in a Sentence

He asserted that there were spies in the government. She asserted her independence from her parents by getting her own apartment. The boss was reluctant to assert his authority over his employees.
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Recent Examples on the Web On the flip side, publishers assert that the creators have been paid, and the publishers and studios took on the risk of the properties being successful. Legal Entertainment, Forbes, 1 Oct. 2021 The organizations assert the draft proposal violates provisions of the federal Voting Rights Act by proposing boundaries that pack Black voters into one district and then split Black communities among other districts. Taylor Deville,, 30 Sep. 2021 Federal prosecutors assert that everybody who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 should be evaluated individually when deciding whether a prison sentence is warranted. cleveland, 29 Sep. 2021 Kashani and Feldstein assert that this led to two key meetings in 2018. Elias Leight, Rolling Stone, 27 Sep. 2021 In 2003, the lawyers assert, the church earmarked money for City Creek from Ensign Peak’s investment gains. The Salt Lake Tribune, 27 Sep. 2021 In fact, the report does not assert that any ballots were cast or counted due to fraud - only that further investigation may be warranted., 24 Sep. 2021 Gottstein also pledged to do everything in his power over the coming months to assert claims on behalf of his clients facing losses on their investment in the Greensill supply chain finance funds. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 7 Apr. 2021 The Court has set July 19, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. (Central Time) as the last date for Former Customers* to assert claims against Griddy in the bankruptcy court. Maria Halkias, Dallas News, 1 Apr. 2021

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

circa 1604, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for assert

Latin assertus, past participle of asserere, from ad- + serere to join — more at series

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Time Traveler for assert

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The first known use of assert was circa 1604

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Last Updated

17 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Assert.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for assert


as·​sert | \ ə-ˈsərt How to pronounce assert (audio) \
asserted; asserting

Kids Definition of assert

1 : to state clearly and strongly Magic, the papers asserted, was worthy of study.— Kelly Barnhill, The Girl Who Drank the Moon
2 : to make others aware of assert your independence
3 : to speak or act in a way that demands attention or recognition If you want people to listen, you have to assert yourself.


transitive verb
as·​sert | \ ə-ˈsərt How to pronounce assert (audio) \

Legal Definition of assert

: to present and demand recognition of assert a claim

Other Words from assert

assertion \ ə-​ˈsər-​shən How to pronounce assert (audio) \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on assert

Nglish: Translation of assert for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of assert for Arabic Speakers


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