assumption [uh-suhmp-shuh n] ExamplesWord Originnoun
- something taken for granted; a supposition: a correct assumption.
- the act of taking for granted or supposing.
- the act of taking to or upon oneself.
- the act of taking possession of something: the assumption of power.
- arrogance; presumption.
- the taking over of another’s debts or obligations.
- (often initial capital letter)the bodily taking up into heaven of the Virgin Mary.
- (initial capital letter)a feast commemorating this, celebrated on August 15.
- Logic. the minor premise of a syllogism.
Origin of assumption 1250–1300; Middle English assumpcioun, assompcioun, assumsion Latin assūmptiōn- (stem of assūmptiō), equivalent to assūmpt(us) taken up (past participle of assūmere; see assume) + -iōn- -ion Related formsmis·as·sump·tion, nounnon·as·sump·tion, nouno·ver·as·sump·tion, nounpre·as·sump·tion, nounre·as·sump·tion, nounself-as·sump·tion, nounsu·per·as·sump·tion, nounCan be confusedassumption axiom premise presumptionWord story The word assumption is a great example of how a word can take on new dimensions of meaning over time, while staying true to some aspect of its original sense.
assumption has been in the language since the 13th century, and was initially confined to a specific ecclesiastical meaning in the Catholic Church. The Latin word on which it is based literally means “the action of being taken up or received,” and in English assumption referred to the taking up into heaven of the Virgin Mary. That meaning still exists today, and in all the meanings it has assumed since then, one can see the common thread running through them is the sense of taking.
One early sense meant “arrogance,” as in this 1814 quote from Sir Walter Scott: “his usual air of haughty assumption.” Arrogance is a taking upon oneself a conviction of self-importance. Later senses arose having to do with the taking on of power or other responsibilities, as in “the assumption of command.”
Probably the most common meaning of assumption in use today is for indicating a supposition, an estimate, a conjecture—that is, something taken for granted. And as any schoolkid knows, presuming to assume can be dangerous, leading us to make, as the saying goes, “an ASS of U and ME!”Popular references
—Assumption persona: A persona is a detailed description of a fictional user (of a product, software program, etc.), based on real-world data. Software engineers and data companies create personas as user models to help build their products. In order to illustrate the utility of using data-driven personas in design, “assumption personas” (personas derived from existing assumptions about users) are used as negative examples showing how assumptions can lead to bad design choices.
—Assumption of risk: the name for a defense used in tort law, where the defense argues that the plaintiff took action knowing the risks involved.Related Quotations
Related Words for assumption presumption, guess, hunch, theory, inference, acceptance, expectation, supposition, hypothesis, premise, suspicion, belief, conjecture, shot, fancy, postulation, stab, presupposition, posit, postulate Examples from the Web for assumption Contemporary Examples of assumption
The Samaritan guidelines are written around the assumption that suicide is a purely irrational act, an act spurred by illness.
January 3, 2015
The way I film is based on the assumption that the audience is as smart and dumb as I am.
November 8, 2014
The assumption was that the abducted students might be among the cadavers.
October 8, 2014
The assumption is that President Obama is a drain on Democrats desperate to survive his unpopular numbers in key states.
October 3, 2014
This assumption, by and large, was a fair one, justified by our particular experience.
June 14, 2014
Historical Examples of assumption
Yet that assumption is at the very basis of modern Christianity.
John Denham Parsons
His assumption that his absence had been noticed rather nettled his hearer.
Henry Seton Merriman
It is vain, perhaps—preposterous in its assumption—but our sole and only hope.
With the assumption that I might be within hearing, De Boer tried to trap me.
Such an assumption is based on false conception of the psychology of suggestion.
British Dictionary definitions for assumption assumption noun
- the act of taking something for granted or something that is taken for granted
- an assuming of power or possession of something
- arrogance; presumption
- logic a statement that is used as the premise of a particular argument but may not be otherwise acceptedCompare axiom (def. 4)
Derived Formsassumptive, adjectiveassumptively, adverbWord Origin for assumption C13: from Latin assūmptiō a taking up, from assūmere to assume Assumption noun Christianity
- the taking up of the Virgin Mary (body and soul) into heaven when her earthly life was ended
- the feast commemorating this, celebrated by Roman Catholics on Aug 15
Word Origin and History for assumption n.
c.1300, “the reception, uncorrupted, of the Virgin Mary into Heaven,” also the Church festival (Aug. 15) commemorating this, Feast of the Assumption, from Old French assumpcion and directly from Latin assumptionem (nominative assumptio) “a taking, receiving,” noun of action from past participle stem of assumere (see assume). Meaning “minor premise of a syllogism” is late 14c. Meaning “appropriation of a right or possession” is mid-15c. Meaning “action of taking for oneself” is recorded from 1580s; that of “something taken for granted” is from 1620s.