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[as-et] /ˈæs ɛt/
a useful and desirable thing or quality:
Organizational ability is an asset.
a single item of ownership having exchange value.
  1. items of ownership convertible into cash; total resources of a person or business, as cash, notes and accounts receivable, securities, inventories, goodwill, fixtures, machinery, or real estate (opposed to liabilities).
  2. Accounting. the items detailed on a balance sheet, especially in relation to liabilities and capital.
  3. all property available for the payment of debts, especially of a bankrupt or insolvent firm or person.
  4. Law. property in the hands of an heir, executor, or administrator, that is sufficient to pay the debts or legacies of a deceased person.
Origin of asset
1525-35; back formation from assets, in phrase have assets, literally, have enough (to pay obligations) < Anglo-French, Old French asez enough. See assai1
Related forms
assetless, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for asset
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A reporter who could thus cater to the public greed for horrors was an asset to the Cincinnati press.

    Lafcadio Hearn Nina H. Kennard
  • They all of them have to admit that I'm honest—that's an asset that nobody can dispute.

    Mixed Faces Roy Norton
  • You would wish me to convince you that he is liability rather than an asset.

    The Debatable Land Arthur Colton
  • What however went first of all or rather vanished was nothing in the nature of an asset.

    Chance Joseph Conrad
  • The one by the well-known author has a valuable asset in its creator; the one by the new author has no asset but its own merits.

    Skookum Chuck Fables Skookum Chuck (pseud for R.D. Cumming)
British Dictionary definitions for asset


anything valuable or useful: experience is their main asset See also assets
Word Origin
C19: back formation from assets
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 asset

see assets.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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asset in Culture

asset definition

A possession that can be turned into cash to cover liabilities.

Note: Commonly, the term denotes anything of value.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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asset in Technology
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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