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 formsas·ser·tive·ly, adverbas·ser·tive·ness, nounnon·as·ser·tive, adjectivenon·as·ser·tive·ly, adverbnon·as·ser·tive·ness, nouno·ver·as·ser·tive, adjectiveo·ver·as·ser·tive·ly, adverbo·ver·as·ser·tive·ness, nounpseu·do·as·ser·tive, adjectivepseu·do·as·ser·tive·ly, adverbun·as·ser·tive, adjectiveun·as·ser·tive·ly, adverbun·as·ser·tive·ness, noun

Synonyms for assertive Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for assertiveness

Contemporary Examples of assertiveness

  • When she tries to join a conversation between two men at dinner she is chastened for her assertiveness.

  • The assertiveness China already shows in Asia and Africa is just the beginning.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Why the West Rules—For Now

    Ian Morris

    December 25, 2010

  • I absolutely love the assertiveness of olives and capers, especially when paired with a meaty fish like swordfish.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Fresh Picks

    Donatella Arpaia

    August 11, 2009

Historical Examples of assertiveness

  • Moore's had been imploring in its assertiveness, the desire to convince.

    The Prisoner

    Alice Brown

  • For all his assertiveness in matters of opinion he is not an intrusive person.

    Notes on My Books

    Joseph Conrad

  • Flourishes are always indicative of a certain amount of assertiveness.

    The Detection of Forgery

    Douglas Blackburn

  • There lurked in it a suggestion of assertiveness, of aggressiveness even.


    Elizabeth Kent

  • Chief among these one notices the assertiveness of the dogs.

    Le Petit Nord

    Anne Elizabeth Caldwell (MacClanahan) Grenfell and Katie Spalding

British Dictionary definitions for assertiveness



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 Formsassertively, adverbassertiveness, 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

Word Origin and History for assertiveness

"tendency toward self-assertion," 1881, from assertive + -ness.



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