verb (used with object)
- to estimate officially the value of (property, income, etc.) as a basis for taxation.
- to fix or determine the amount of (damages, a tax, a fine, etc.): The hurricane damage was assessed at six million dollars.
- to impose a tax or other charge on.
- to estimate or judge the value, character, etc., of; evaluate: to assess one’s efforts.
- to judge the worth, importance, etc, of; evaluate
- (foll by at) to estimate the value of (income, property, etc) for taxation purposesthe estate was assessed at three thousand pounds
- to determine the amount of (a fine, tax, damages, etc)
- to impose a tax, fine, etc, on (a person or property)
early 15c., “to fix the amount (of a tax, fine, etc.),” from Anglo-French assesser, from Medieval Latin assessare “fix a tax upon,” originally frequentative of Latin assessus “a sitting by,” past participle of assidere “to sit beside” (and thus to assist in the office of a judge), from ad- “to” (see ad-) + sedere “to sit” (see sedentary). One of the judge’s assistant’s jobs was to fix the amount of a fine or tax. Meaning “to estimate the value of property for the purpose of taxing it” is from 1809; transferred sense of “to judge the value of a person, idea, etc.” is from 1934. Related: Assessed; assessing.