Definition of presuppose in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˌprēsəˈpōz/


[with object]
1(Of an action, process, or argument) require as a precondition of possibility or coherence: his relationships did not permit the degree of self-revelation that true intimacy presupposes
More example sentences
  • But individuality and distinctiveness presuppose coherence and unity: without them, nothing can stand on its own as an object either of admiration or contempt.
  • Nevertheless, our very procedure, in deriving therefrom a lawlike description of the infinite modes, presupposes the possibility of a deductive science.
  • Protest, however, also presupposed the possibility of improving one's condition by exerting pressure.
1.1 [with clause] Tacitly assume at the beginning of a line of argument or course of action that something is the case: your argument presupposes that it does not matter who is in power
More example sentences
  • Such an argument would have to presuppose that there is somehow something wrong with being gay.
  • Such an argument presupposes that the owner operates hands-off.
  • This argument presupposes that rational individuals either cannot, or do not, act in their own best interests.
presume, assume, take it for granted, take it as read, suppose, surmise, think, accept, consider


Late Middle English: from Old French presupposer, suggested by medieval Latin praesupponere, from prae 'before' + supponere 'place under' (see suppose).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: pre·sup·pose

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.