Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To take for granted as being true in the absence of proof to the contrary: We presumed she was innocent.
  • transitive v. To constitute reasonable evidence for assuming; appear to prove: A signed hotel bill presumes occupancy of a room.
  • transitive v. To venture without authority or permission; dare: He presumed to invite himself to dinner.
  • intransitive v. To act overconfidently; take liberties.
  • intransitive v. To take unwarranted advantage of something; go beyond the proper limits: Don't presume on their hospitality.
  • intransitive v. To take for granted that something is true or factual; suppose: That's the new assistant, I presume.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To assume or take beforehand; esp., to do or undertake without leave or authority previously obtained.
  • transitive v. To take or suppose to be true, or entitled to belief, without examination or proof, or on the strength of probability; to take for granted; to infer; to suppose.
  • intransitive v. To suppose or assume something to be, or to be true, on grounds deemed valid, though not amounting to proof; to believe by anticipation; to infer.
  • intransitive v. To venture, go, or act, by an assumption of leave or authority not granted; to go beyond what is warranted by the circumstances of the case; to venture beyond license; to take liberties; -- often with on or upon before the ground of confidence.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To take upon one's self; undertake; venture; dare: generally with an infinitive as object.
  • To believe or accept upon probable evidence; infer as probable; take for granted.
  • Synonyms Surmise, Guess, etc. (see conjecture), think, consider.
  • To be venturesome; especially, to venture beyond the limits of ordinary license or propriety; act or speak overboldly.
  • To press forward presumptuously; be led by presumption; make one's way overconfidently into an unwarranted place or position.
  • To take; to take to oneself: with of.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. take upon oneself; act presumptuously, without permission
  • v. take liberties or act with too much confidence
  • v. constitute reasonable evidence for
  • v. take to be the case or to be true; accept without verification or proof

Etymologies

Middle English presumen, from Old French presumer, from Late Latin praesūmere, from Latin, to anticipate : prae-, pre- + sūmere, to take; see em- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Anglo-Norman presumer, Middle French presumer, and their source, Latin praesūmere ("to take beforehand, anticipate"), from prae- + sūmere ("to take"). (Wiktionary)

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