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Can assert be synonymous to 'apply' or 'implement' in this context?

He asserted his power on his subordinates/countrymen/party members etc.

I'm aware of the other meaning :- to state smth confidently, sometimes even when there is a lack of evidence. (Feel free to rectify any mistakes I've made :) .

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    Power is not said to be implemented or applied (political power, that is) Force is applied. Power is wielded, just like a sword. – Lambie Nov 7 '18 at 22:24
  • @Lambie nicely put. – Mike Harris Nov 7 '18 at 22:27
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    "Assert" in that sense has an implication of coercion. – Hot Licks Nov 7 '18 at 23:07
  • @Lambie I understand ; I was unable to articulate myself. I meant to say something like 'exercised his authority' or 'exercised his privilege' etc. How'd 'assert' apply in that sense? For instance in this sentence:- > a good librarian is able to assert authority when required. – user323059 Nov 7 '18 at 23:26
  • @Specter - When someone asserts their power they make you do things you maybe didn't want to do. – Hot Licks Nov 8 '18 at 0:19
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  1. to assert oneself OED

to insist upon the recognition of one's rights or claims, and take means to secure them.

From this sense of assert, your sample sentences could read

He asserted himself on his subordinates/countrymen/party members etc.

and

A good librarian is able to assert her authority when required.

going as far as necessary to accomplish such.

Naval forces can assert their authority by war. Police can assert their authority by arresting you. As far as being synonymous with apply or implement, no, but those words could be used, as in:

A good librarian is able to implement his/her authority when required.

and

He applied his authority on his subordinates/countrymen/party members etc.

Apply and Implement are words unto themselves with their own definitions.

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  • So it could be read as : 'a good librarian is able to insist/claim their authority' ? Similarly : 'He claimed his rights over his subordinates/countrymen etc?' Also assert is like : to claim smth ; and exert is like : to exercise,apply smth? So an individual can assert for his privileges; a soldier who has served for a long time under a post can assert for a promotion ? – user323059 Nov 8 '18 at 7:14
  • @user323059 You are assuming that the entries in dictionaries are true synonyms. There are very, very, few true synonyms in English. Each different word has its own nuance: it is therefore rare that one word can be substituted for another. 'a good librarian is able to insist/claim their authority' is not idiomatic and 'He claimed his rights over his subordinates/countrymen etc?'.does not mean "He asserted his rights..." It is usual to assert your right over something" The collocation assert to - "Julius Cæsar did assert to himself a Dominion over British Isle and Sea" is archaic. – Greybeard Aug 15 at 17:21
  • @Greybeard There have been discussions here on the default meaning of 'synonym', and the definition 'one of 2, 3 ... words that may be interchanged in certain usages with zero or negligible change in meaning' agreed as being the only tenable/meaningful one. Hence the term 'exact synonym' rather than 'true synonym' (for the mythical 100% interchangeability) is appropriate – Edwin Ashworth Aug 15 at 18:09
  • Obviously the question lacks required signs of research (not OED here; Lexico, formerly ODO) – Edwin Ashworth Aug 15 at 18:15

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