Definition of assume in English:

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Pronunciation: /əˈso͞om/


[with object]
1Suppose to be the case, without proof: you’re afraid of what people are going to assume about me [with clause]: it is reasonable to assume that such changes have significant social effects [with object and infinitive]: they were assumed to be foreign
More example sentences
  • Obviously the police haven't confirmed yet whether the guy was involved in yesterday's bombings, but I suppose one can reasonably assume that he was.
  • After all, it refers to a standard of proof that assumes innocence until guilt is proven.
  • At least, I assume it was supposed to be amusing, because I glanced once at it, and burned the foul thing as soon as decency allowed.
2Take or begin to have (power or responsibility): he assumed full responsibility for all organizational work
More example sentences
  • The overall goal of these institutions is to prepare each generation to assume the obligations and responsibilities of a productive citizen.
  • Marriage exists because people must take responsibility for childcare and assume economic obligations.
  • It eloquently sums up the entire philosophy behind choosing to assume the duty and responsibility of carrying a weapon.
accept, shoulder, bear, undertake, take on/up, manage, handle, deal with
2.1Seize (power or control): the rebels assumed control of the capital
More example sentences
  • In return, Britain promised to support Thailand against any attempts by a third power to assume control in the Malay Peninsula.
  • The hijackers assumed the controls of the Boeing 757, cruising in the airspace near the capital.
  • The game had swung back in their favour and they looked like assuming control.
seize, take (over), appropriate, commandeer, expropriate, hijack, wrest, arrogate, usurp
3Take on (a specified quality, appearance, or extent): militant activity had assumed epidemic proportions
More example sentences
  • However, the underlying fact remains that the area is in the grip of a severe water contamination problem which is threatening to assume epidemic proportions in the coming days.
  • At first there is a case here and there, then suddenly this infectious intestinal disease assumes epidemic proportions.
  • It is that last hazard that has assumed epidemic proportions recently.
acquire, take on, come to have
3.1Take on or adopt (a manner or identity), sometimes falsely: Oliver assumed an expression of penitence she puts on a disguise, assumes a different persona, and cruises the squalid bars on the bad side of town (as adjective assumed) a man living under an assumed name
More example sentences
  • Indeed, even the most wretched of mortals would not dare to falsely assume the identity of the Father of Life!
  • She figured that it would be best to assume a fake name, in case someone was truly searching for them still.
  • Fleeing to London in 1773, he assumed the name Barrington and made his living as a gentleman pickpocket and thief.
affect, adopt, impersonate, put on, simulate, feign, fake
false, fictitious, invented, made-up, fake, bogus, sham, spurious, make-believe, improvised, adopted
informal pretend, phony



Pronunciation: /-midlē/
Example sentences
  • The brothers resemble each other strikingly, both with weathered yet handsome, angular features, assumedly a product of their Danish ancestry and years of sun, sea salt, and smoking.
  • Angry and frustrated by his father's unwillingness to share the assumedly banal truth about his life, the son sets off to find the real story and discovers that his father's tales were not as fanciful as he had thought.
  • There is more cinematic product coming out of Hollywood nowadays than there are spaces in theatres (and, assumedly, the public's imagination).


Late Middle English: from Latin assumere, from ad- 'toward' + sumere 'take'.

  • The word comes from Latin assumere formed from ad ‘towards’ and sumere ‘take, take up’. Sumere also gives us, from the same period consume ‘take up together’; presume ‘take before’ hence ‘take for granted’; and resume ‘take back’.

Words that rhyme with assume

abloom, backroom, bloom, Blum, boom, broom, brume, combe, consume, doom, entomb, exhume, flume, foredoom, fume, gloom, Hume, illume, inhume, Khartoum, khoum, loom, neume, perfume, plume, presume, resume, rheum, room, spume, subsume, tomb, vroom, whom, womb, zoom

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: as·sume

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