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ascertain

[as-er-teyn]
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verb (used with object)
  1. to find out definitely; learn with certainty or assurance; determine: to ascertain the facts.
  2. Archaic. to make certain, clear, or definitely known.
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Origin of ascertain

1400–50; late Middle English, variant of assertain, acertain < Middle French acertain- (tonic stem of acertener to make certain), equivalent to a- a-5 + certain certain
Related formsas·cer·tain·a·ble, adjectiveas·cer·tain·a·bly, adverbas·cer·tain·er, nounas·cer·tain·ment, nounnon·as·cer·tain·a·ble, adjectivenon·as·cer·tain·a·ble·ness, nounnon·as·cer·tain·a·bly, adverbnon·as·cer·tain·ment, nounpre·as·cer·tain, verb (used with object)pre·as·cer·tain·ment, nounun·as·cer·tain·a·ble, adjectiveun·as·cer·tain·a·bly, adverbun·as·cer·tained, adjectivewell-as·cer·tained, adjective

Synonym study

1. See learn.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

confirmverifydeterminedivinedouble-checkdigeyereadfixdiscovertellseesettleidentifylearnpegestablishchecksizeeyeball

Examples from the Web for ascertaining

Historical Examples

  • It is the constitutional method of ascertaining the public will.

    United States Presidents' Inaugural Speeches

    Various

  • His first object at once became the ascertaining of his bearings.

    The Law-Breakers

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • And there was no other means of ascertaining what had been going on.

    The Night Riders

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • I had no trouble in ascertaining that Jake had nothing to do with things.

    The Night Riders

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • "There are other ways of ascertaining that without stooping to keyholes," said her husband.

    The Snare

    Rafael Sabatini


British Dictionary definitions for ascertaining

ascertain

verb (tr)
  1. to determine or discover definitely
  2. archaic to make certain
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Derived Formsascertainable, adjectiveascertainably, adverbascertainment, noun

Word Origin

C15: from Old French acertener to make certain
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

Word Origin and History for ascertaining

ascertain

v.

early 15c., "to inform, to give assurance," from Anglo-French acerteiner, Old French acertener "to assure, certify" (13c.), from a "to" (see ad-) + certain "certain" (see certain). Modern meaning of "find out for sure by experiment or investigation" is first attested 1794. Related: Ascertained; ascertaining.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper