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presume

[ pri-zoom ]
/ pr瑟藞zum /
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See synonyms for: presume / presumed / presuming on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object), pre路sumed, pre路sum路ing.
to take for granted, assume, or suppose: I presume you're tired after your drive.
Law. to assume as true in the absence of proof to the contrary.
to undertake with unwarrantable boldness.
to undertake (to do something) without right or permission: to presume to speak for another.
verb (used without object), pre路sumed, pre路sum路ing.
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Origin of presume

1300鈥50; Middle English presumen (<Old French presumer) <Latin praes奴mere to take beforehand (Late Latin: take for granted, assume, dare), equivalent to prae-pre- + s奴mere to take up, suppose (see consume)

OTHER WORDS FROM presume

pre路sum路ed路ly [pri-zoo-mid-lee], /pr瑟藞zu m瑟d li/, adverbpre路sum路er, nounun路pre路sumed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, 漏 Random House, Inc. 2021

PRESUME VS. ASSUME

What is the difference between聽presume and聽assume?

Presume and assume have very similar meanings鈥攖hey 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鈥檛 be there. The word assume could also be used in this scenario, but it鈥檚 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鈥檝e 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 鈥渂efore鈥濃攚hen you presume things, you鈥檙e often basing that presumption on something that has happened before. As for assume, well, we鈥檒l just assume you know a good way of remembering how it鈥檚 used.

Presume and assume also have a few meanings that don鈥檛 overlap. Presume can mean to undertake or do something without permission or justification, as in I don鈥檛 presume to speak for the entire class. Assume can mean to take on, adopt, or be endowed with something, as in I don鈥檛 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鈥檛 have.

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

Quiz yourself on聽presume vs.聽assume!

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

We don鈥檛 know anything, so we shouldn鈥檛 _____ anything.

How to use presume in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for presume

presume
/ (pr瑟藞zju藧m) /

verb
(when tr, often takes a clause as object) to take (something) for granted; assume
(when tr, often foll by an infinitive) to take upon oneself (to do something) without warrant or permission; daredo you presume to copy my work?
(intr; foll by on or upon) to rely or dependdon't presume on his agreement
law to take as proved until contrary evidence is produced

Derived forms of presume

presumedly (pr瑟藞zju藧m瑟dl瑟), adverbpresumer, nounpresuming, adjectivepresumingly, adverb

Word Origin for presume

C14: via Old French from Latin praes奴mere to take in advance, from prae before + s奴mere to assume
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition 漏 William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 漏 HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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