[ uh-soom ]
/ əˈsum /
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See synonyms for: assume / assumed / assumes / assuming on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object), as·sumed, as·sum·ing.
verb (used without object), as·sumed, as·sum·ing.
to take something for granted; presume.
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Origin of assume

First recorded in 1400–50; late Middle English (from Anglo-French assumer ), from Latin assūmere “to take to, adopt,” equivalent to as- “toward” + sūmere “to take up”; see as-, consume

synonym study for assume

6. See pretend.


as·sum·er, nouno·ver·as·sume, verb (used with object), o·ver·as·sumed, o·ver·as·sum·ing.pre·as·sume, verb (used with object), pre·as·sumed, pre·as·sum·ing.re·as·sume, verb (used with object), re·as·sumed, re·as·sum·ing.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What's the difference between assume and presume?

Assume and presume have very similar meanings—they both mean to suppose that something is true without being able to confirm it. Assume, however, usually implies that the conclusion reached by the person doing the assuming is not based on much. Presume, on the other hand, often implies that the conclusion is based on something a bit stronger, such as some evidence or past situations in which the same thing happened.

For example, you might presume that someone will be attending a meeting because they always attend and you have no reason to think they won’t be there. The word assume could also be used in this scenario, but it’s most likely to be used in situations in which there was less of a reason to have come to a certain conclusion. For example, you might assume something about someone you’ve just met based only on how they look (which is never a good idea).

A good way to remember this difference in how the two words are used is that the prefix pre- in presume means “before”—when you presume things, you’re often basing that presumption on something that has happened before. As for assume, well, we’ll just assume you know a good way of remembering how it’s used.

Assume and presume also have a few meanings that don’t overlap. Assume can mean to take on, adopt, or be endowed with something, as in I don’t want to assume any new responsibilities. Presume can mean to undertake or do something without permission or justification, as in I don’t presume to speak for the entire class.

Here are examples of assume and presume used correctly in a sentence.

Example: I assumed you knew what you were doing when you volunteered to bake the cake, but apparently I shouldn’t have.

Example: I presumed, based on your resume, that you knew how to work with this software.

Want to learn more? Read the full breakdown of the difference between assume and presume.

Quiz yourself on assume vs. presume!

Is assume or presume the better choice in the following sentence?

We don’t know anything, so we shouldn’t _____ anything.

How to use assume in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for assume

/ (əˈsjuːm) /

verb (tr)
(may take a clause as object) to take for granted; accept without proof; supposeto assume that someone is sane
to take upon oneself; undertake or take on or over (a position, responsibility, etc)to assume office
to pretend to; feignhe assumed indifference, although the news affected him deeply
to take or put on; adoptthe problem assumed gigantic proportions
to appropriate or usurp (power, control, etc); arrogatethe revolutionaries assumed control of the city
Christianity (of God) to take up (the soul of a believer) into heaven

Derived forms of assume

assumable, adjectiveassumer, noun

Word Origin for assume

C15: from Latin assūmere to take up, from sūmere to take up, from sub- + emere to take
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