• synonyms


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 for ascertains

confirm, verify, determine, divine, double-check, dig, eye, read, fix, discover, tell, see, settle, identify, learn, peg, establish, check, size, eyeball

Examples from the Web for ascertains

Historical Examples of ascertains

  • Man forms the idea of an ellipse, and ascertains the laws of ellipses.

    Christianity As A Mystical Fact

    Rudolf Steiner

  • For one's own dear self, one ascertains and remembers everything.

  • Rigoletto has no immediate need of him, but ascertains where he can be found.

  • He first ascertains what is according to the rule, and then follows it as nearly as he is able.

    The Intellectual Life

    =Philip Gilbert Hamerton

  • He ascertains 331 what will please her, and that is what he administers.

    The Intellectual Life

    =Philip Gilbert Hamerton

British Dictionary definitions for ascertains


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

Word Origin for ascertain

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 ascertains



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