assume


assume
assume, presume
1. Both words can mean ‘suppose’ and are often interchangeable in this meaning. Fowler (1926) maintained that there is a stronger element of postulation or hypothesis in assume and of a belief held on the basis of external evidence in presume, but in practice the uses are not always that distinct. Both words can be followed by a that-clause (or one with that omitted), by an object followed by a to-infinitive, or by a simple object: (assume)

• Throughout the book…the authors assume the validity of neo-classical economics as taught in the United States —Times Literary Supplement, 1974

• When you're young you assume everybody old knows what they're doing —Martin Amis, 1987

• This is assumed to refer to some sort of demonstration similar to April's Peking riot —Daily Telegraph, 1976

• (presume) I often hear the ungrammatical term ‘one pence’. I presume this is because the occurrence of a single penny is becoming a thing of the past —Daily Telegraph, 1974

• The Able Criminal…may be presumed…to be emotionally stable and ‘well-adjusted’ —Eric Ambler, 1977.

2. Assume and presume also coincide in a range of meaning that may be summarized as ‘to take on oneself’, although you generally assume roles and identities but presume attitudes and bearings. The intransitive use with a to infinitive is available only with presume. Examples:

• He was writing ‘Gerontion’, a dramatic monologue in which he assumes the persona of the ‘little old man’ —Peter Ackroyd, 1984

• He looked surprised —almost annoyed —as if a servant had presumed too great a familiarity —P. P. Read, 1981

• It is a reckless ambassador who would presume to preempt his chiefs —Henry Kissinger, 1979.


Modern English usage. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • assume — as·sume vt as·sumed, as·sum·ing 1: to voluntarily take upon oneself assume a risk 2: to take over (the debts or obligations of another) as one s own assume a mortgage Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster …   Law dictionary

  • assume — UK US /əˈsjuːm/ verb [T] ► to begin to take control of something: assume control/office/a role »Europe has assumed a leadership role in the prevention of future global crises. assume responsibility for sth »The FSA said mortgages would not be… …   Financial and business terms

  • assume — [ə so͞om′, əsyo͞om′] vt. assumed, assuming [ME assumen < L assumere, to take up, claim < ad , to + sumere, to take: see CONSUME] 1. to take on or put on (the appearance, form, role, etc. of) 2. to seize; usurp [to assume control] 3. to take …   English World dictionary

  • assume — 1 Assume, affect, pretend, simulate, feign, counterfeit, sham mean to put on a false or deceptive appearance. Assume often implies a pardonable motive rather than an intent to deceive {it sometimes happens that by assuming an air of cheerfulness… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • assume — [v1] believe, take for granted accept, ascertain, be afraid, be inclined to think, conclude, conjecture, consider, count upon, deduce, deem, divine, estimate, expect, fall for, fancy, find, gather, get the idea*, guess, have a hunch*, have… …   New thesaurus

  • Assume — As*sume , v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Assumed}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Assuming}.] [L. assumere; ad + sumere to take; sub + emere to take, buy: cf. F. assumer. See {Redeem}.] 1. To take to or upon one s self; to take formally and demonstratively; sometimes,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • assume — (v.) early 15c., assumpten to receive up into heaven (especially of the Virgin Mary), also assumen to arrogate, from L. assumere to take up, take to oneself, from ad to, up (see AD (Cf. ad )) + sumere to take, from sub under + emere …   Etymology dictionary

  • Assume — As*sume , v. i. 1. To be arrogant or pretentious; to claim more than is due. Bp. Burnet. [1913 Webster] 2. (Law) To undertake, as by a promise. Burrill. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • assume — an agreement to continue performing duties under a contract or lease (Glossary of Common Bankruptcy Terms) An agreement between the debtor and the other party to an executory contract to continue performing duties under that contract. A lease is… …   Glossary of Bankruptcy

  • assumé — assumé, ée (a su mé, mée) part. passé. La responsabilité assumée par cet employé …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré