asset

[ as-et ]
/ ˈæs ɛt /

noun

a useful and desirable thing or quality: Organizational ability is an asset.
a single item of ownership having exchange value.
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.

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 forms

as·set·less, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for assets

British Dictionary definitions for assets (1 of 2)

assets

/ (ˈæsɛts) /

pl n

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
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
any property owned by a person or firm

Word Origin for assets

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

British Dictionary definitions for assets (2 of 2)

asset

/ (ˈæsɛt) /

noun

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

Culture definitions for assets

asset

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


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.