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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


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

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Examples from the Web for presumed

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • But I presumed she had some other view in coming to me, than she had hitherto acquainted me with.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • With them, the crook is presumed guilty at the outset of whatever may be charged against him.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • He had not thought much about it, but he presumed that in a sense she was.

  • It is to be presumed that the major was less bewildered than he looked.

    Roden's Corner

    Henry Seton Merriman

  • Although we find religion against us, we have not yet presumed those who do.

    Clarissa, Volume 3 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

British Dictionary definitions for presumed


  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

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 presumed



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