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

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 As more officers arrive, their drive to assert their authority becomes unhinged and frenzied. Lisa Kennedy, Variety, 18 Nov. 2021 Was Rittenhouse looking for trouble, and should this restrict his right to assert self-defense? Paul Callan, CNN, 16 Nov. 2021 Scientists and other busybodies are quick to assert that Mars has no air. Ethan Simon, The New Yorker, 15 Nov. 2021 Because of the close margins, conspiracy theorists quickly took to the internet to assert the election was stolen. Ella Lee, USA TODAY, 10 Nov. 2021 Reopening a business in such turbulent times has taught Mendoza hard lessons that assert her resilience across all facets of her life. Kimberly Wilson, Essence, 8 Nov. 2021 From George III in Manhattan to Saddam Hussein in Baghdad to Robert E. Lee in New Orleans, one subset of citizens erected a statue to assert a story about a people. Washington Post, 5 Nov. 2021 Pete waited far too long to assert any authority over Tyler, despite having full authority. Carolyn Rosenblatt, Forbes, 4 Nov. 2021 Those teams have been able to assert their will on the Magic, particularly during long stretches. Matt Murschel,, 28 Oct. 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

Time Traveler

The first known use of assert was circa 1604

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Last Updated

22 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Assert.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 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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