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[as-er-teyn] /ˌæs ərˈteɪn/
verb (used with object)
to find out definitely; learn with certainty or assurance; determine:
to ascertain the facts.
Archaic. to make certain, clear, or definitely known.
Origin of ascertain
1400-50; late Middle English, variant of assertain, acertain < Middle French acertain- (tonic stem of acertener to make certain), equivalent to a- a-5 + certain certain
Related forms
ascertainable, adjective
ascertainably, adverb
ascertainer, noun
ascertainment, noun
nonascertainable, adjective
nonascertainableness, noun
nonascertainably, adverb
nonascertainment, noun
preascertain, verb (used with object)
preascertainment, noun
unascertainable, adjective
unascertainably, adverb
unascertained, adjective
well-ascertained, adjective
Synonym Study
1. See learn. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for ascertained
  • The total number of killed and wounded is not yet ascertained.
  • It has surely to be ascertained on any individual basis, as the case law in these aforementioned areas has duly proved.
  • Isn't it a fantastic thing when a journalist seeks to make clear the means by which he ascertained his information.
  • So far as can be ascertained there were only five persons killed by the late explosion in our city.
  • For one point, promotion criteria are firm and easily ascertained.
  • Nor can the level of culture be ascertained simply from the level of readership.
  • The conceptual model can be ascertained from the higher level observable phenomena.
  • He soon ascertained that but a few hours of life remained.
  • The extent of damages cannot be ascertained at this time, but it is said to be large.
  • No trains arriving, and the wires having been torn down, the extent of the damage is yet difficult to be ascertained.
British Dictionary definitions for ascertained


verb (transitive)
to determine or discover definitely
(archaic) to make certain
Derived Forms
ascertainable, adjective
ascertainably, adverb
ascertainment, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Old French acertener to make certain
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for ascertained



early 15c., "to inform, to give assurance," from Anglo-French acerteiner, Old French acertener "to assure, certify" (13c.), from a "to" (see ad-) + certain "certain" (see certain). Modern meaning of "find out for sure by experiment or investigation" is first attested 1794. Related: Ascertained; ascertaining.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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