Definition of presuppose in English:



  • 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’
    • ‘Needless to say, a consumer boom predicated on mortgage refinancing presupposes an ongoing ability to service one's mortgage.’
    • ‘The embrace of ethnic origin presupposes a source culture eager to be embraced, or one that is malleable enough for the author's fancy.’
    • ‘These presuppose a reference mass consisting of all possible instances and their use can be interpreted, under appropriate circumstances, to entail a ‘universal’ statement about all instances.’
    • ‘Therefore, its operation in these markets presupposes an institutional framework that makes this operation possible.’
    • ‘How can we at the same time be dutiful and unjust, since duty presupposes justice - indeed duty is justice itself, in the form of requirement and obligation.’
    • ‘Nor is it possible without presupposing knowledge of the external world since triangulation involves each person recognising that they occupy spaces in a shared world.’
    • ‘The traditional doctrine of the fall presupposed an original state of innocence for the human race.’
    • ‘Since the reverse is not true (actuality does not in the same way presuppose potentiality), an actuality is prior in definition to its correlative potentiality.’
    • ‘Now it was our duty to promote the highest good; and it is not merely our privilege but a necessity connected with duty as a requisite to presuppose the possibility of this highest good.’
    • ‘They may indeed show that one can construct Frankfurt-type examples that explicitly presuppose indeterminism in which there are no alternative possibilities.’
    • ‘The buyer also should estimate the expected years of truck service, which requires presupposing what the company will be doing five or more years down the road.’
    • ‘Rather, the coherence of set theory is presupposed by much of the foundational activity in contemporary mathematics.’
    • ‘The guidelines for human behavior that have their source in the Bible presuppose universal applicability.’
    • ‘Reason, according to Mead, is the search for causal continuity in experience and, in fact, must presuppose such continuity in its attempt to construct a coherent account of reality.’
    • ‘Mental predicates therefore presuppose the mentality that creates them: mentality cannot consist simply in the applicability of the predicates themselves.’
    • ‘Nevertheless, our very procedure, in deriving therefrom a lawlike description of the infinite modes, presupposes the possibility of a deductive science.’
    • ‘I have tried to present Kant's thought in a modern idiom, while presupposing the least possible knowledge of philosophy.’
    • ‘Protest, however, also presupposed the possibility of improving one's condition by exerting pressure.’
    • ‘Such exercises end up presupposing a continuity when it is almost certainly more productive to look for breaks.’
    • ‘But individuality and distinctiveness presuppose coherence and unity: without them, nothing can stand on its own as an object either of admiration or contempt.’
    require, necessitate, imply, entail, mean, involve, assume, suppose, have as a necessary condition, have as a precondition
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    1. 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’
      • ‘This argument presupposes a consensus on the nature of the international crimes we have just questioned.’
      • ‘Harm reduction presupposes that addicts are rational individuals who engage in destructive behaviours only when forced to by legal and social sanctions.’
      • ‘I think the basis of the argument presupposes what the film is ‘trying to say’.’
      • ‘But both presuppose that the only proper purpose or consideration of a final bonus is the return of the capital value of the asset share of the policy-holder.’
      • ‘Such an argument would have to presuppose that there is somehow something wrong with being gay.’
      • ‘And why can't we let patients make an informed choice based on the data, rather than paternalistically presupposing that all humans are incipient dope fiends?’
      • ‘But, of course, it does not presuppose that all speakers understand the word this way, only that they can if they think about it in a certain (fairly common) way.’
      • ‘This argument presupposes that rational individuals either cannot, or do not, act in their own best interests.’
      • ‘This, of course, presupposes that free will exists.’
      • ‘What this presupposes, of course, is that men and women are subject to different moralities.’
      • ‘Of course, higher cash compensation also presupposes that these companies have prosperous, growing businesses.’
      • ‘Such an argument presupposes that the owner operates hands-off.’
      • ‘Feminist theory, consistently and misguidedly, presupposes that, at some level or other, all power relationships involving men are evil.’
      • ‘That of course presupposes that there was any basis for asking direct questions of the claimant at discharge, and in my view there was not.’
      • ‘At the same time, to adopt such a course must surely be to presuppose that there is a genuine issue regarding the reality of what is thus accepted.’
      • ‘Your argument seems to presuppose that it does.’
      • ‘Meeting this challenge with street kids, of course, presupposes that a rapport and trust can be established.’
      • ‘What's happened is a disaster all right, but to say that it's a failure presupposes that the plan was to use all available civil and military forces to deliver relief, and that this plan failed.’
      • ‘We do not, of course, presuppose that nowhere ever is there a failure of, say, vision.’
      • ‘This of course presupposed that they were properly regulated so as to indemnify the public for the franchises which the utilities had been granted.’
      presume, assume, take it for granted, take it, take it as given, take it as read, suppose, surmise, think, accept, consider, postulate, posit
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Late Middle English: from Old French presupposer, suggested by medieval Latin praesupponere, from prae before + supponere place under (see suppose).