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asset

[as-et]
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noun
  1. a useful and desirable thing or quality: Organizational ability is an asset.
  2. a single item of ownership having exchange value.
  3. assets,
    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. Law.property in the hands of an heir, executor, or administrator, that is sufficient to pay the debts or legacies of a deceased person.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for assets

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Let me see what my assets will bring when reduced to cash, for this time it shall be a sale.'

    Lord Kilgobbin

    Charles Lever

  • The most intangible of assets and the most unescapable of liabilities.

    Rope

    Holworthy Hall

  • The liabilities thus frankly stated, let us turn to the assets.

  • "In yer listin' of assets, ye haven't invoiced Maizie," said Landy.

    David Lannarck, Midget

    George S. Harney

  • "But there's one of your assets, or weaknesses, that she will not be able to disguise," said Davy earnestly.

    David Lannarck, Midget

    George S. Harney


British Dictionary definitions for assets

assets

pl n
  1. accounting the property and claims against debtors that a business enterprise may apply to discharge its liabilities. Assets may be fixed, current, liquid, or intangible and are shown balanced against liabilitiesCompare liabilities
  2. law the property available to an executor or administrator for settlement of the debts and payment of legacies of the estate of a deceased or insolvent person
  3. any property owned by a person or firm
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Word Origin

C16 (in the sense: enough to discharge one's liabilities): via Anglo-French from Old French asez enough, from Vulgar Latin ad satis (unattested), from Latin ad up to + satis enough

asset

noun
  1. anything valuable or usefulexperience is their main asset See also assets
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Word Origin

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 assets

n.

1530s, "sufficient estate," from Anglo-French asetz (singular), from Old French assez (11c.) "sufficiency, satisfaction; compensation," noun use of adverb meaning "enough, sufficiently; very much, a great deal," from Vulgar Latin *ad satis "to sufficiency," from Latin ad- "to" (see ad-) + satis "enough" (see sad).

Beginning as a legal term, "sufficient estate" (to satisfy debts and legacies), it passed into general use; meaning "any property that theoretically can be converted to ready money" is from 1580s. Asset is a 19c. artificial singular. Asset stripping attested from 1972.

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asset

n.

see assets.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

assets in Culture

asset

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

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Note

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.