- assetFowler (1926) called this a ‘false form’, meaning that the true form was assets, derived from a late Anglo-French word which came in turn from Latin ad satis meaning ‘to sufficiency’, while asset was the lazy writer's alternative when unwilling to choose between words such as possession, gain, advantage, resource, and other synonyms. Assets was originally construed as singular but after about 1800 was construed as plural, giving rise to the singular form asset, which is now standard in a range of physical and non-physical meanings:
• Mays Cottage was a period piece, completely unrestored, which in these days seemed to be an asset —Margaret Drabble, 1975
• I still am prone to theorising about anything I have grown fond of or am familiar with (I wonder if it is an asset at all?) —weblog, IndE 2004 [OEC].
Modern English usage. 2014.