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asset

[as-et] /ˈæs ɛt/
noun
1.
a useful and desirable thing or quality:
Organizational ability is an asset.
2.
a single item of ownership having exchange value.
3.
assets.
  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
1525-1535
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
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for assets

assets

/ˈæsɛts/
plural noun
1.
(accounting) the property and claims against debtors that a business enterprise may apply to discharge its liabilities. Assets may be fixed, current, liquid, or intangible and are shown balanced against liabilities Compare liabilities
2.
(law) the property available to an executor or administrator for settlement of the debts and payment of legacies of the estate of a deceased or insolvent person
3.
any property owned by a person or firm
Word Origin
C16 (in the sense: enough to discharge one's liabilities): via Anglo-French from Old French asez enough, from Vulgar Latin ad satis (unattested), from Latin ad up to + satis enough

asset

/ˈæsɛt/
noun
1.
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 assets
n.

1530s, "sufficient estate," from Anglo-French asetz (singular), from Old French assez (11c.) "sufficiency, satisfaction; compensation," noun use of adverb meaning "enough, sufficiently; very much, a great deal," from Vulgar Latin *ad satis "to sufficiency," from Latin ad- "to" (see ad-) + satis "enough" (see sad).

Beginning as a legal term, "sufficient estate" (to satisfy debts and legacies), it passed into general use; meaning "any property that theoretically can be converted to ready money" is from 1580s. Asset is a 19c. artificial singular. Asset stripping attested from 1972.

asset

n.

see assets.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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assets 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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