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[uh-sur-tiv] /əˈsɜr tɪv/
confidently aggressive or self-assured; positive: aggressive; dogmatic:
He is too assertive as a salesman.
having a distinctive or pronounced taste or aroma.
Origin of assertive
First recorded in 1555-65; assert + -ive
Related forms
assertively, adverb
assertiveness, noun
nonassertive, adjective
nonassertively, adverb
nonassertiveness, noun
overassertive, adjective
overassertively, adverb
overassertiveness, noun
pseudoassertive, adjective
pseudoassertively, adverb
unassertive, adjective
unassertively, adverb
unassertiveness, noun
1. forceful, decisive, forward. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for unassertive
Historical Examples
  • That the squatters did not themselves recognise the worth of one so unassertive was not to be wondered at.

    Australian Writers

    Desmond Byrne
  • He was an unassertive, unassuming man, with a genius for being inconspicuous.

  • Would not he too have been melancholy, quiet, unassertive, almost as uninteresting and uninterested as Booth was?

    The Story of My Life Ellen Terry
  • The Eversleighs were very fond of their house, and, in an unassertive way, proud of it.

  • Her beauty was not heightened now, but it was displayed with all the grave consciousness of an unassertive renown.

    Sinister Street, vol. 2 Compton Mackenzie
  • In her mind she fixed him in contrast with Transley, the self-confident and aggressive, and Linder, the shy and unassertive.

    Dennison Grant Robert Stead
  • Mrs. Shelley walked to a mirror and looked thoughtfully at her unassertive reflection.

    The Education of Eric Lane Stephen McKenna
British Dictionary definitions for unassertive


confident and direct in claiming one's rights or putting forward one's views
given to making assertions or bold demands; dogmatic or aggressive
Derived Forms
assertively, adverb
assertiveness, noun
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 unassertive



1560s, "declaratory, positive, full of assertion," from assert + -ive. Meaning "insisting on one's rights" is short for self-assertive (1865).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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