assess

[ uh-ses ]
/ əˈsɛs /

verb (used with object)

to estimate officially the value of (property, income, etc.) as a basis for taxation.
to fix or determine the amount of (damages, a tax, a fine, etc.): The hurricane damage was assessed at six million dollars.
to impose a tax or other charge on.
to estimate or judge the value, character, etc., of; evaluate: to assess one's efforts.

Origin of assess

1400–50; late Middle English assessen < Medieval Latin assessāre to assess a tax, derivative of Latin assēssus seated beside (a judge) (past participle of assidēre), equivalent to as- as- + sed- (stem of sedēre to sit1) + -tus past participle suffix
Related forms
Can be confusedaccess assess excessaccessible assessable

Word story

Assess comes from Middle English assessen, from Old French assesser, from Late Latin assessāre “to fix a tax on.” Assessāre is a Late Latin frequentative verb derived from assess-, the inflectional stem of the past participle assessus, from the Latin verb assidēre “to sit next to or by (as an assistant, attendant, or aide),” formed from the preposition and prefix ad, ad-, here having the sense “nearness, presence at,” and -sidēre, a combining form of the verb sedēre “to sit, be seated.”
In Proto-Indo-European, two dental consonants (such as d + d, d + t, t + t, etc.) could not appear together. In the Italic languages (Latin, Oscan, Umbrian) and Germanic, the two dental consonants developed into -ss- ; thus the original Latin past participle of sedēre , sedtus (originally an adjective suffix, typically forming past participles in Latin) regularly became sessus, the base for the Late Latin verb assessāre.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for assessable

British Dictionary definitions for assessable

assess

/ (əˈsɛs) /

verb (tr)

to judge the worth, importance, etc, of; evaluate
(foll by at) to estimate the value of (income, property, etc) for taxation purposesthe estate was assessed at three thousand pounds
to determine the amount of (a fine, tax, damages, etc)
to impose a tax, fine, etc, on (a person or property)
Derived Formsassessable, adjective

Word Origin for assess

C15: from Old French assesser, from Latin assidēre to sit beside, from sedēre to sit
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 assessable

assess


v.

early 15c., "to fix the amount (of a tax, fine, etc.)," from Anglo-French assesser, from Medieval Latin assessare "fix a tax upon," originally frequentative of Latin assessus "a sitting by," past participle of assidere "to sit beside" (and thus to assist in the office of a judge), from ad- "to" (see ad-) + sedere "to sit" (see sedentary). One of the judge's assistant's jobs was to fix the amount of a fine or tax. Meaning "to estimate the value of property for the purpose of taxing it" is from 1809; transferred sense of "to judge the value of a person, idea, etc." is from 1934. Related: Assessed; assessing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper