Definition of presume in US English:



  • 1with clause Suppose that something is the case on the basis of probability.

    ‘I presumed that the man had been escorted from the building’
    with object and complement ‘the two men were presumed dead when the wreck of their boat was found’
    • ‘They conclusively presume that the ‘neocons’ are always lying anyway.’
    • ‘We presumed that the dog had probably come from a haulage lorry, or a contractor working in the area.’
    • ‘And they are presumed to be dead, but we hope that that's not the case, but that is our working assumption right now.’
    • ‘A lot of people probably presumed that I couldn't have kids.’
    • ‘For now, judges seem to presume that everyone is relatively good at voice recognition, better, in fact, than the research suggests is possible.’
    • ‘Anyway, even if my client gets the information to me a month before the trial, I don't think I'm supposed to presume my client is lying.’
    • ‘His father had died many years previously, and although he never spoke of his mother, I presumed that she was dead too.’
    • ‘If you don't return you will be presumed dead, and your people sent away.’
    • ‘He nodded a little with a look that I presumed was supposed to imply something along the lines of ‘hook up.’’
    • ‘He also said the missing American is presumed dead.’
    • ‘Ninety per cent of the world's pelagic species of fish are already missing, presumed dead.’
    • ‘In a shorter-duration study, most of those missing individuals would have been presumed dead.’
    • ‘He then presumes that we believe that ‘all newly diagnosed hypertensive patients would benefit from ambulatory blood pressure monitoring.’’
    • ‘At the time, I had presumed that everything had gone the way it was supposed to.’
    • ‘He hasn't been a danger to the community in that time, and I presume the judge believes he isn't likely to be.’
    • ‘He says, I do not understand English very well but he presumes that probably may be the reason.’
    • ‘Also, two Germans are missing; they are presumed dead.’
    • ‘The roll-call of the missing presumed dead is the tragic emblem of such atrocities, and it is no surprise that the fate of one woman in particular has caused much comment.’
    • ‘The hostages presumed that the others were dead.’
    • ‘Both novels focus on missing persons who are presumed dead.’
    assume, suppose, dare say, imagine, take it, expect, believe, think, surmise, guess, judge, trust, conjecture, speculate, postulate, posit, hypothesize, deduce, divine, infer, conclude, presuppose, take for granted, take as read
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Take for granted that something exists or is the case.
      ‘the argument presumes that only one person can do the work’
      with object ‘the task demands skills that cannot be presumed and therefore require proper training’
      • ‘The ‘fitness cliff’ hypothesis presumes that life opportunities for potential suicide bombers have recently plummeted.’
      • ‘The waterfall model presumes that the requirements development phase results in nearly perfect requirements, the design phase results in a nearly perfect design, and so forth.’
      • ‘The law presumes bail should be granted unless there are strong reasons to prevent it.’
      • ‘The plan to reduce acute-care beds and replace them with other facilities with differing and more appropriate levels of care presumes such facilities exist.’
      • ‘It also presumes that greater demand for resources requires us to loot more planets, when it's likely that the resources can be found right here under Gaia's sofa cushions.’
      • ‘The Argument from Religious Experience presumes that, if people tell you that they have had certain experiences, then those people should be believed.’
      • ‘The concern, often made in parallel with concerns about parental expectations, presumes that IQ is a strong predictor of RTI, which it is not.’
      • ‘One hypothesis presumes that the primary cause is insulin resistance.’
      • ‘Federalism presumes that states exist within a larger nation.’
      • ‘The ‘role model’ argument insults women; it presumes that they can only be followers, not pioneers.’
      • ‘Capitalism not only presumes but requires and produces inequality.’
      • ‘But this argument presumed wrongdoing by the petitioner and ignored the fact that there were already criminal statutes existing punishing such behavior.’
      • ‘The reason the question is absurd, in my view, is that it presumes, or at least implies, a serious misunderstanding of what evolution requires.’
      • ‘Secondly, this argument presumes that the only two possibilities are that he's telling the truth or he's lying, and those are not the only two possibilities.’
      • ‘The argument presumes one will prevail over another.’
      • ‘It presumes that the administration demands were unreasonable and doesn't address the staff association proposals.’
      • ‘As a former principal, I have always loved this argument about the need for choice, because it presumes that everybody in Auckland wants his or her child to go to Auckland Grammar.’
      • ‘This estimate presumes that the low cost stock which does exist is available for low income households.’
      • ‘The argument presumes that there are large numbers of qualified Xs out there who, absent discrimination, would be proportionally represented in the challenged field.’
      • ‘Indeed, such measures presume that no reconciliation is possible and that therefore drastic steps are in order.’
  • 2no object, with infinitive Be audacious enough to do something.

    ‘kindly don't presume to issue me orders in my own house’
    • ‘In the absence of express instructions, I believe that it would be inappropriate for the solicitor to presume to have implied instructions in such circumstances.’
    • ‘This vision of justice suggests that one should feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and house the homeless without presuming to ask whether they are deserving.’
    • ‘These are so essential to our nature as a species that no legitimate government has the right to abridge them, or even presume to grant them.’
    • ‘Don't presume to know enough about their culture to be able to say ‘oh, it's so wonderful, don't change’.’
    • ‘The answer seems simple enough: he did not presume to know the advocates' goals.’
    • ‘The draft reflects a similar innocence about how the media operate, while presuming to call shots and issue admonitions and injunctions in an often condescending way.’
    • ‘I cannot presume to have the arrogance to tell someone how they should go about finding the balances in their own lives.’
    • ‘I would never presume to dictate issues of style and form to you, dear sir.’
    • ‘Would it not end up trivialising and over-simplifying human issues that the narrative was presuming to metaphor?’
    • ‘The final section ranges from a narrative about an artist's educational trip through Africa to projects that presume to address issues of race.’
    • ‘After more than two centuries of American jurisprudence and millennia of human experience, a few judges and local authorities are presuming to change the most fundamental institution of civilization.’
    • ‘I just think it is arrogant of such folk that they can presume to make judgements on behalf of other people.’
    • ‘If the present path is blocked, no-one should arrogantly presume to predict a certain way forward.’
    • ‘Others have already commented on the irony of the head of an organisation which conspired to cover up child sex abuse presuming to lecture the rest of us on morality.’
    • ‘Participation is redefined as discussion in the virtual world of ‘big’ issues presumed to be beyond anybody's control.’
    • ‘The first of the improvements I presumed to demand was more care over spelling (in the face of some truly wild examples).’
    • ‘This bumptious charlatan then presumes to lecture others on issues of morality and governance.’
    • ‘The suggestion that it is arrogant to presume to make such decisions is false in at least some cases, including those where the disability is disastrous.’
    • ‘That characterization epitomizes the arrogance and condescension of anyone who would presume to understand and speak for all of us.’
    • ‘We do not presume to be important enough to have our own city.’
    venture, dare, have the temerity, have the audacity, have the effrontery, be so bold as, make so bold as, go so far as
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1no object Make unjustified demands; take liberties.
      ‘forgive me if I have presumed’
    2. 2.2presume on/uponno object Unjustifiably regard (something) as entitling one to privileges.
      ‘she knew he regarded her as his protegée, but was determined not to presume on that’
      • ‘Tell them how to do it, maybe then they will not presume on your friendship by asking for one of your traces.’
      • ‘Too many, misunderstanding the nature of faith and presuming upon the grace of God, disregard the commandments of God.’
      • ‘These are people I will be hoping will fund-raise and bang on doors for me and I don't want to presume on them.’
      • ‘In the Roman successor states of western Europe, the feudal system contained a hint of servility in the act of homage that liege lords found it unwise to presume upon.’
      • ‘He does not presume on it, as if deliverance from God is a matter of fate or inevitability.’
      • ‘In addition to the perennial problems of education and begging that usually presume on the generosity of the citizens, there are a host of natural and man-made disasters.’
      • ‘Before the day few thought that on 3 June a million or two groupies would throng the Mall to watch a bunch of clapped-out old-stagers presuming on the public's indulgence for one last hurrah.’
      • ‘This is the sort of non-realistic, even non-narrative structure which opera is best at, presuming on the audience's knowledge of the basic myth/archetype to add extra experiences and information.’
      • ‘It's quite another matter if someone has done you wrong, or is presuming on your friendship in some unseemly fashion.’
      • ‘Domitia escapes punishment but, incensed at the death of Paris and presuming on her power over the emperor, she rails at and taunts him.’
      • ‘‘Very little,’ said Ternora, pleased that the lion was apparently going to be serious and stop presuming on his own superiority.’
      • ‘It's for the British people to decide and I don't presume on their judgment.’
      • ‘Without presuming on, but nevertheless hoping for, forgiveness, you can petition the Almighty through this lesser ceremony and thereby summon the support and endorsement of your community.’
      • ‘I presume on the issue of cooperation, the same charge could be made against America.’
      • ‘If we do not thank God for God's blessing, then we become like ingrates, those who presume upon the goodness of those who give them gift after gift.’
      • ‘How can anyone presume upon God's love and mercy, while neglecting his holiness and justice.’
      • ‘I fear I must once again presume on your good nature my dear.’
      • ‘Great though he was, he didn't presume upon his equality with God.’
      take advantage of, take unfair advantage of, exploit, take liberties with
      View synonyms


Late Middle English: from Old French presumer, from Latin praesumere ‘anticipate’ (in late Latin ‘take for granted’), from prae ‘before’ + sumere ‘take’.