Definition of assume in English:



[with object]
  • 1Suppose to be the case, without proof.

    ‘topics which assume detailed knowledge of local events’
    with clause ‘it is reasonable to assume that such changes have significant social effects’
    with object and infinitive ‘they were assumed to be foreign’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘To require total changeover may be beyond the means available and assumes knowledge of the solution.’
    • ‘For some reason, she assumed the elevator was above them.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘For some reason they assumed this would be won by the Conservatives.’
    • ‘The author assumes no prior knowledge on the part of the reader.’
    • ‘And few people understand what it's like to be at the eye of a hurricane when everybody is accusing you and everybody is calling you names and everybody is assuming your guilt.’
    • ‘A modern scientist, according to Grenz, assumes that knowledge is always good, and this assumption of goodness leads to an optimistic outlook.’
    • ‘So I guess I just assumed it was acceptable behavior.’
    • ‘The one problem I have with the skeptical argument is that it often assumes proof is an easy thing to come by.’
    • ‘I assume it's supposed to prove some point, although I don't exactly know what.’
    • ‘I suppose I just assumed you were naturally plump.’
    • ‘It is often assumed that the reason why the university put a stop to its plans to build a research centre in 2004 is because of the threats by animal rights activists.’
    • ‘But taking that route causes problems later on, because the intermediate course fails to cover much basic algebra and geometry, of which the A-level course assumes knowledge.’
    • ‘After all, it refers to a standard of proof that assumes innocence until guilt is proven.’
    • ‘Suppose we assume some particular scale for the space shown in that one picture.’
    • ‘Far be it from him to assume that marriage was supposed to be fun.’
    • ‘Many good books on proof assume experience from high school or beyond.’
    • ‘The end notes are impressively detailed but the text assumes a readership with some prior knowledge of aeronautics.’
    • ‘We were supposed to assume these two were representative of all young single mothers without support; the voice of Buggy Street.’
    presume, suppose, take it, take for granted, take as read, take it as given, presuppose, conjecture, surmise, conclude, come to the conclusion, deduce, infer, draw the inference, reckon, reason, guess, imagine, think, fancy, suspect, expect, accept, believe, be of the opinion, understand, be given to understand, gather, glean
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  • 2Take or begin to have (power or responsibility)

    ‘he assumed full responsibility for all organizational work’
    • ‘Soviet foreign debt had ballooned to $56.5 billion, and creditors were demanding that the successor states assume full responsibility.’
    • ‘The authors assume full responsibility for the accuracy and completeness of the ideas represented in this study.’
    • ‘In their new role, grandmothers became intimately involved with their grandchildren by assuming primary responsibility for their care.’
    • ‘Despite all this help, the work remains my own, and I assume full responsibility for any shortcomings or errors.’
    • ‘All of this could enable the interim government to assume real power and control in coming months and set the stage for an elected government to take over in January.’
    • ‘The party also proposed that the state assume responsibility for full employment based on a minimum wage related to the cost of living.’
    • ‘Are you prepared to assume full responsibility for the outcome of your business?’
    • ‘In Australia, if a device is used in a manner other than designated by the manufacturer, the user assumes full responsibility and liability.’
    • ‘The author assumes full responsibility for what he writes.’
    • ‘The overall goal of these institutions is to prepare each generation to assume the obligations and responsibilities of a productive citizen.’
    • ‘The state assumes full responsibility for all development projects and the well-being of its citizens and is reluctant to admit need for external assistance.’
    • ‘It eloquently sums up the entire philosophy behind choosing to assume the duty and responsibility of carrying a weapon.’
    • ‘These are just some examples of the undoubted benefits we have seen since the council assumed control of parking enforcement.’
    • ‘It should assume full responsibility and accept creditors' demands for additional collateral.’
    • ‘Her real ordeals begin when her husband starts to assume responsibility for his recovery.’
    • ‘Marriage exists because people must take responsibility for childcare and assume economic obligations.’
    • ‘People who allow others to determine who they are and what they are to do generally do not assume full responsibility for their behavior.’
    • ‘They may take the first steps in assuming full responsibility for their lives by realizing that they have the power to prevent such situations from recurring.’
    • ‘He'll outline plans for a transitional authority, due to assume control on the 30th of June.’
    • ‘We assume full responsibility for the content of this article.’
    accept, shoulder, bear, undertake, take on, take up, take on oneself, manage, handle, deal with, get to grips with, turn one's hand to
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    1. 2.1 Seize (power or control)
      ‘the rebels assumed control of the capital’
      • ‘By mid February he had assumed control of the city in a remarkable bloodless coup.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A state of emergency is declared and the army threatens to assume control if order is not restored.’
      • ‘Here too, militiamen have assumed effective control of the municipality.’
      • ‘Tribes assumed control of the city's institutions and protected government buildings.’
      • ‘Overnight he assumed control of the domestic agenda in a manner that surprised the prime minister, shocked his cabinet colleagues and astounded Whitehall's officials.’
      • ‘In return, Britain promised to support Thailand against any attempts by a third power to assume control in the Malay Peninsula.’
      • ‘He fled to the USA as the general assumed control of the country and re-imposed the savagery that characterised the dictatorships of the past.’
      • ‘Telephones used by foreign residents have been cut off and the secret police have assumed control of the country's mobile phone service.’
      • ‘Residents of the United States have assumed control of the continental term ‘America.’’
      seize, take, take possession of, take over, take away, appropriate, commandeer, expropriate, confiscate, requisition, hijack, wrest, usurp, pre-empt, arrogate to oneself, help oneself to, claim, lay claim to
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  • 3Begin to have (a specified quality, appearance, or extent)

    ‘militant activity had assumed epidemic proportions’
    • ‘Her curvaceousness; the symmetry of her face; the sensuousness of her eyes; each assumed a threatening quality.’
    • ‘From the perspective of the West Wing, the war on terror assumes a heroic quality, and the president heroic status.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Chance remarks of the Allied leaders sometimes tended to assume the quality of self-fulfilling prophecies.’
    • ‘By 2015, heart-related ailments will assume epidemic proportions, world over.’
    • ‘This is especially true in an age of reality television, which allow the news reports coming from Iraq to assume a surreal quality.’
    • ‘At first there is a case here and there, then suddenly this infectious intestinal disease assumes epidemic proportions.’
    • ‘Whisk this sharply over a very slow fire, until it assumes the appearance of a light frothy custard.’
    • ‘Each leaf assumes its appearance and operations through a finely balanced process of cell division and specialization.’
    • ‘It began to assume outsize dimensions, rising like the pyramid of Giza over the bar.’
    • ‘Experimental plots had assumed an appearance identical to that of the surrounding sediment within one week of their creation.’
    • ‘It is that last hazard that has assumed epidemic proportions recently.’
    • ‘Unfounded facts and interpretations assumed a self-perpetuating quality and, over time, gained historical credibility.’
    • ‘The fact that it is rarely transmitted from one human being to another means that it has never assumed epidemic proportions in human society, though it may do so in cattle and other animals.’
    • ‘Suddenly the Ireland of the ‘great craic’ so beloved of visiting stag parties began to assume different proportions.’
    • ‘It is also known that the grass was cut twice weekly to encourage it to assume a dwarf quality.’
    • ‘To my mind this was the defining moment in the great India-Pakistan cricketing divide when contests assumed proportions and dimensions other than mere sport.’
    • ‘Settlers mined it for building stone, and the fort soon assumed the appearance of an ancient ruin.’
    • ‘Driven by a penetrating east wind, it drifted until every hollow and depression was filled and the landscape assumed the appearance of a vast white prairie.’
    • ‘Objects appeared to gain in relief; they assumed unusual dimensions; and colours became more glowing.’
    acquire, take on, adopt, come to have
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    1. 3.1 Take 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’
      • ‘Indeed, even the most wretched of mortals would not dare to falsely assume the identity of the Father of Life!’
      • ‘Skerry stiffens, assuming her mask of indifference.’
      • ‘Both, for obscure hedonistic purposes, assume the false name Ernest only to find that their respective paramours, Cecily and Gwendolen, will spurn any man who does not go by that name.’
      • ‘The husband assumes the name of Ray Carter and makes Hester swear that she will conceal his identity.’
      • ‘Meanwhile Roberts, no longer protected by his own name, assumes Haskell's identity long enough to ditch the car and find Sue.’
      • ‘The cleric's attempt to assume a new guise as the cuddly and tolerant uncle of the young generation might seem to be stretching credibility but his image makeover has been at least partly successful.’
      • ‘Montresor assumed an air of indifference again.’
      • ‘These bods were so concerned about their safety they were using assumed names - due to the numerous death threats their contentious web site had provoked.’
      • ‘The claimant long wished to dress as, and assume the appearance of, a woman.’
      • ‘The opportunity for men - and surprisingly, for women - to assume a new name, and lose track of their old lives, was relatively great.’
      • ‘Well, here he is anyway, starring in a tale about a frumpy kid who is given an amazing device that allows him to assume the appearance of anyone he wants to.’
      • ‘I won't be a Staines much longer as I am likely going to assume the name of my stepfather (which is ‘Wangstaff’).’
      • ‘On November 11, 1968, it was abolished and replaced by a republic, and the country assumed its present name.’
      • ‘Fleeing to London in 1773, he assumed the name Barrington and made his living as a gentleman pickpocket and thief.’
      • ‘This is why, even today, many Korean-Japanese hide their Korean identity and assume Japanese names.’
      • ‘Anyone can assume the appearance of hopes and values.’
      • ‘She figured that it would be best to assume a fake name, in case someone was truly searching for them still.’
      • ‘In 1994 she took the first step towards her sex change by assuming the name Sandra and living as a woman.’
      • ‘She had by this time assumed the name of Carol Jones and was living in Soho with her widowed mother.’
      • ‘Sarah walked over to the antique dresser and mirror set and assumed a gloomy appearance. ‘After all, my grandmother just died,’ she thought.’
      • ‘But in social security the biggest scam is people pretending to have a disability that they do not have, rather than assuming another name.’
      feign, fake, put on, simulate, counterfeit, sham, affect, adopt, impersonate
      false, fictitious, invented, made-up, concocted, feigned, pretended, faked, fake, bogus, sham, spurious, counterfeit, pseudo, make-believe, improvised, affected, adopted
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Late Middle English: from Latin assumere, from ad- ‘towards’ + sumere ‘take’.