Friday, November 27, 2015

Assume & Presume

Ron asked if there’s an appreciable difference between the words assume and presume. Each has several meanings, so they do diverge at times, but the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary gives this meaning for assume—“to take for granted”—and this meaning for presume—“to take for granted.”

Both are based on the Latin verb sumere, to take up. So is the word consume, and the word subsume, which means to include an item in something more comprehensive or to encompass it as a component element.

Many of the words built on the Latin sumere are now obsolete. They include

·      absume: to diminish or carry off;

·      desume: to borrow or derive;

·      forsume: to waste or consume;

·      insume: to take in or absorb;

·      introsume: to take medicine internally;

·      transume: to make an official copy of a legal document.

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