a useful and desirable thing or quality: Organizational ability is an asset.
a single item of ownership having exchange value.
  1. items of ownership convertible into cash; total resources of a person or business, as cash, notes and accounts receivable, securities, inventories, goodwill, fixtures, machinery, or real estate (opposed to liabilities).
  2. Accounting.the items detailed on a balance sheet, especially in relation to liabilities and capital.
  3. all property available for the payment of debts, especially of a bankrupt or insolvent firm or person.
  4. in the hands of an heir, executor, or administrator, that is sufficient to pay the debts or legacies of a deceased person.

Origin of asset

1525–35; back formation from assets, in phrase have assets, literally, have enough (to pay obligations) < Anglo-French, Old French asez enough. See assai1
Related formsas·set·less, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for asset

Contemporary Examples of asset

Historical Examples of asset

  • They all of them have to admit that I'm honest—that's an asset that nobody can dispute.

    Mixed Faces

    Roy Norton

  • What however went first of all or rather vanished was nothing in the nature of an asset.


    Joseph Conrad

  • Your beauty is as tangible an asset as money would be; but beauty requires money.


    Clara Louise Burnham

  • And believe me, he knows whether you are an asset or a liability to his show.

  • And in the balance she had confidently thrown the asset of my assisting her.

British Dictionary definitions for asset



anything valuable or usefulexperience is their main asset See also assets

Word Origin for asset

C19: back formation from assets
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 asset

see assets.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

asset in Culture


A possession that can be turned into cash to cover liabilities.


Commonly, the term denotes anything of value.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.