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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.
  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.
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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.
  3. to go too far in acting unwarrantably or in taking liberties (usually followed by on or upon): Do not presume upon his tolerance.
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Origin of presume

1300–50; Middle English presumen (< Old French presumer) < Latin praesūmere to take beforehand (Late Latin: take for granted, assume, dare), equivalent to prae- pre- + sūmere to take up, suppose (see consume)
Related formspre·sum·ed·ly [pri-zoo-mid-lee] /prɪˈzu mɪd li/, adverbpre·sum·er, nounun·pre·sumed, adjective

Synonyms for presume

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for presume

guess, assume, pretend, suppose, infer, surmise, conjecture, trust, depend, consider, figure, conclude, gather, rely, premise, posit, postulate, speculate, presuppose, think

Examples from the Web for presume

Contemporary Examples of presume

Historical Examples of presume

  • I do not presume to decide whether all that is believed has the inward significancy.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • "As long as the party is in the right, I presume, you mean," said Vivian.

  • I presume half our people, on a pinch, could have brought the Sterling in.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • I will not presume to think of entering her presence, or my papa's without leave.

    Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • Nothing can be done, Madam, I must presume to say, if this gentleman's address be the end.

    Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

British Dictionary definitions for presume


  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; daredo you presume to copy my work?
  3. (intr; foll by on or upon) to rely or dependdon't presume on his agreement
  4. law to take as proved until contrary evidence is produced
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Derived Formspresumedly (prɪˈzjuːmɪdlɪ), adverbpresumer, nounpresuming, adjectivepresumingly, adverb

Word Origin for presume

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


late 14c., "to take upon oneself, to take liberty," also "to take for granted, presuppose," especially overconfidently, from Old French presumer (12c.) and directly from Latin praesumere "anticipate," in Late Latin, "assume" (see presumption). Related: Presumed; presumedly; presuming.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper