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[as-et] /ˈæs ɛt/
a useful and desirable thing or quality:
Organizational ability is an asset.
a single item of ownership having exchange value.
  1. items of ownership convertible into cash; total resources of a person or business, as cash, notes and accounts receivable, securities, inventories, goodwill, fixtures, machinery, or real estate (opposed to liabilities).
  2. Accounting. the items detailed on a balance sheet, especially in relation to liabilities and capital.
  3. all property available for the payment of debts, especially of a bankrupt or insolvent firm or person.
  4. Law. property in the hands of an heir, executor, or administrator, that is sufficient to pay the debts or legacies of a deceased person.
Origin of asset
1525-35; back formation from assets, in phrase have assets, literally, have enough (to pay obligations) < Anglo-French, Old French asez enough. See assai1
Related forms
assetless, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for asset
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • They all of them have to admit that I'm honest—that's an asset that nobody can dispute.

    Mixed Faces Roy Norton
  • What however went first of all or rather vanished was nothing in the nature of an asset.

    Chance Joseph Conrad
  • Your beauty is as tangible an asset as money would be; but beauty requires money.

    Jewel Clara Louise Burnham
  • And believe me, he knows whether you are an asset or a liability to his show.

  • And in the balance she had confidently thrown the asset of my assisting her.

British Dictionary definitions for asset


anything valuable or useful: experience is their main asset See also assets
Word Origin
C19: back formation from assets
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for asset

see assets.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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asset in Culture

asset definition

A possession that can be turned into cash to cover liabilities.

Note: Commonly, the term denotes anything of value.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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