Pronunciation Verb

assume (assumes, present participle assuming; past and past participle assumed)

  1. To authenticate by means of belief; to surmise; to suppose to be true, especially without proof
    We assume that, as her parents were dentists, she knows quite a bit about dentistry.
  2. To take on a position, duty or form
    Mr. Jones will assume the position of a lifeguard until a proper replacement is found.
    • 1715, Homer; [Alexander] Pope, transl., “Book I”, in The Iliad of Homer, volume I, London: Printed by W[illiam] Bowyer, for Bernard Lintott between the Temple-Gates, OCLC 670734254 ↗:
      Trembling they stand while Jove assumes the throne.
    • 1892, Walter Besant, “Prologue: Who is Edmund Gray?”, in The Ivory Gate: A Novel, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, […], OCLC 16832619 ↗:
      Such a scandal as the prosecution of a brother for forgery—with a verdict of guilty—is a most truly horrible, deplorable, fatal thing. It takes the respectability out of a family perhaps at a critical moment, when the family is just assuming the robes of respectability: […] it is a black spot which all the soaps ever advertised could never wash off.
  3. To adopt a feigned quality or manner; to claim without right; to arrogate
    • c. 1599–1602, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act III, scene iv]:
      Assume a virtue, if you have it not.
    • ambition assuming the mask of religion.
  4. To receive, adopt (a person)
    • 1820, Walter Scott, Ivanhoe; a Romance. [...] In Three Volumes, volume (please specify ), Edinburgh: Printed for Archibald Constable and Co.; London: Hurst, Robinson, and Co. […], OCLC 230694662 ↗:
  5. To adopt (an idea or cause)
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