presumed vs assumed

What is the difference?

definition: suppose that something is the case on the basis of probability
  1. I presumed that the man had been escorted from the building
  2. two of the journalists went missing and are presumed dead
assume, suppose, dare say, imagine, take it, expect, believe, think, surmise, guess, judge, trust, conjecture, speculate, postulate, posit, hypothesize, deduce, divine, infer, conclude, presuppose, take for granted, take as read
definition: suppose to be the case, without proof
  1. topics which assume detailed knowledge of local events
  2. it is reasonable to assume that such changes have significant social effects
  3. they were assumed to be foreign
presume, suppose, take it, take for granted, take as read, take it as given, presuppose, conjecture, surmise, conclude, come to the conclusion, deduce, infer, draw the inference, reckon, reason, guess, imagine, think, fancy, suspect, expect, accept, believe, be of the opinion, understand, be given to understand, gather, glean

presumed vs assumed

What's the difference between presumed and assumed? Well, one might presume that the assumption of presume is...wait, hold up, that's too confusing! Don't worry; here, we will break down the subtle difference between these two confusing words, so you never have to assume the differences in meaning again.

1. presumed

verb, adjective

Presumed is the past participle of presume, when you believe something is true or probable based on an informed guess. There are levels of presumption on the basis of probability, and usually presumed means you have a degree of confidence in the topic based on reasonable evidence or an educated guess. To presume doesn't mean you have hard facts but implies a knowledge level of things you presume to be factual.


Fun Factoids

In legal proceedings, the difference between presume is that it is used a little differently. In the legal catchphrase "presumed innocent until proven guilty," presumption is defined as "supposed truth without evidence or level of proof." So, therefore a person is presumed innocent until a certain weight of evidence rebuts or disproves the presumption. This distinct meaning helps legal proceedings to be fair and just.

Examples for presumed

The man was presumed innocent until proven otherwise.

Based on what happened last year, I presumed you wouldn't go.

What have you presumed about the numbers for the next financial quarter?

I presumed you weren't in because your car isn't outside.

I presumed they weren't coming because they still needed to reply to my messages.

Black rhinos are presumed to go extinct because they are endangered.

2. assumed

verb, adjective

Assumed is the past participle of to assume and is when you believe something to be true with very little evidence and with an absence of proof. If you assume something, it isn't necessarily based on your previous experiences or strength of probability; however, reasonable assumptions can also be possible. Synonyms for assumed could be supposed, take up, or take on.


Fun Factoids

Generally, in legal and workplace contexts, assumed or assumption means undertaking or taking over a specific duty or responsibility from another person. For example, Sally assumed the position of Social Media Marketer. The phrase "assumption to the throne" means to assume a duty of monarchy, in other words, to take over the responsibility of being queen or king. The secondary meaning of assumption is also prevalent in the Bible, especially on August 15th, Assumption Day, commemorating the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, where many Christians, Lutherans, and Anglicans believe Mary, the mother of God, descended into Heaven to be reunited with her soul.

Examples for assumed

Charles III assumed the role of King following the death of the late Queen Elizabeth II.

Once we got married, I assumed my wife's last name.

When you do something under an assumed name, you do it under another name, not your real one.

I assumed as much, but in fact, I was wrong.

Are we meeting at four? I assumed we were meeting earlier.

This is my best friend, John. I'm sorry, I'd assumed you'd met.

Takeaways - Tips

Presumed / Presume

When you have presumed something, it means you believed something to be true based on experience or the balance of probability.

Assumed / Assume

When you have assumed something, it could either mean you believed something to be true regardless of factual evidence or that you took over a position from someone else. The assuming of a name is when you legally take someone else's name, which usually happens through marriage, adoption, etc.

Bottom Line

When you use assumed and presumed, remember that the difference between assume and presume is that presumed is usually based on factual or believed evidence. In contrast, the subtle difference is that assumed is the absence of actual proof. Assumed could also mean you take a position from someone or take someone's name through legal proceedings. The fine basis of probability is what normally confuses people when looking at these two words.


When to use presumed?

When to use assumed?

How to remember presumed vs. assumed

Commonly Confusing Words

Spell checkers don't always have you covered. Sometimes your word might be spelled correctly, but it could be the wrong word. In English, there are lots of confusing terms that look alike but are spelled differently, and many terms that mean the same thing but are easily misused.

Here are the most commonly confusing word pairings, with definitions and examples of their usage.

Check it out!