View synonyms for presume


[ pri-zoom ]

verb (used with object)

, pre·sumed, pre·sum·ing.
  1. to take for granted, assume, or suppose:

    I presume you're tired after your drive.

    Synonyms: presuppose

  2. Law. to assume as true in the absence of proof to the contrary.
  3. to undertake with unwarrantable boldness.
  4. to undertake (to do something) without right or permission:

    to presume to speak for another.

verb (used without object)

, pre·sumed, pre·sum·ing.
  1. to take something for granted; suppose.
  2. to act or proceed with unwarrantable or impertinent boldness.

    Synonyms: overstep

  3. to go too far in acting unwarrantably or in taking liberties (usually followed by on or upon ):

    Do not presume upon his tolerance.


/ prɪˈzjuːmɪdlɪ; prɪˈzjuːm /


  1. when tr, often takes a clause as object to take (something) for granted; assume
  2. when tr, often foll by an infinitive to take upon oneself (to do something) without warrant or permission; dare

    do you presume to copy my work?

  3. intr; foll by on or upon to rely or depend

    don't presume on his agreement

  4. law to take as proved until contrary evidence is produced
“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

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Derived Forms

  • preˈsumingly, adverb
  • preˈsumer, noun
  • preˈsuming, adjective
  • presumedly, adverb
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Other Words From

  • pre·sum·ed·ly [pri-, zoo, -mid-lee], adverb
  • pre·sumer noun
  • unpre·sumed adjective
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Word History and Origins

Origin of presume1

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English presumen, from Old French presumer, from Latin praesūmere “to take beforehand” (in Late Latin: “to take for granted, assume, dare”), from prae- pre- + sūmere “to take up” ( consume )
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Word History and Origins

Origin of presume1

C14: via Old French from Latin praesūmere to take in advance, from prae before + sūmere to assume
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Example Sentences

Now, if you head over to California’s database again, you will find filings going back to 2016, which I presume is the five-year limit for the site’s search function.

So I presumed there must be a lot of micrometeorites in the dust, and I was right.

Lawmakers even presumed that anyone receiving the now-celebrated Pell Grants would have to borrow to pay for what those limited scholarships did not cover.

His face—presuming it’s a man—is covered by a mask, and the hood of his sweatshirt obscures the rest of his head.

From Quartz

It can’t be presumed that developers know about BundlePhobia, Lighthouse, or SEO for that matter.

The next month she married the man who, it is safe to presume, was her final husband.

But it is a mistake to presume that because these voters are Obama loyalists they are Democratic Party loyalists.

I presume most Republicans will be clever enough to mute impeachment talk before November.

Somebody (a monk, I presume) has put a dummy dressed in a guard's uniform inside.

How far that may be is unclear, though we can only presume that it would involve jail time for those tracked down.

I presume the twenty-five or thirty miles at this end is unhealthy, even for natives, but it surely need not be so.

I presume this path does not extend many miles without meeting impediments.

I presume there will be more middling and half middling yields within twenty miles of Paris than in all Belgium.

That Lannes would have emerged superior to these trials his previous career affords strong reason to presume.

I presume you know that Maria Theresa was a first-rate soldier; or, at least, she had the happy art of finding them.


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Presume vs. Assume

What is the difference between presume and assume?

Presume and assume 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.

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

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

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

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

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

Quiz yourself on presume vs. assume!

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

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