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“Assume”, “presume”, “suppose”

I would like to know the usage of assume versus presume. It seems to me, that both of them tend to depict the same meaning. So where exactly lies the difference in their usage?


3 Answers 3


There can be a strong connotative difference between the two, despite meaning more or less the same thing.

When I assume something I'm taking an idea to be true without full support for that fact. Particularly in a legal context, you often hear presume used the same way, for example: "He was presumed dead"

However presume can also mean an overreaching assumption, particularly one that someone might find offensive. In common conversation, that is the main difference that I tend to hear between the words.


They are both similar. Presume's definition states that it is to assume. However, the definition of presume says that it is to assume something is true in the absence of proof to the contrary, while assuming is to take for granted without proof.


They are both very similar. However, in my experience, presume has a connotation along the lines of being out of reach or above one's station. For example. I might assume that it would be ok to hug my wife's best friend the first time I met her, but I would never presume it would be ok to hug the Queen of England.

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