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[uh-sahyn] /əˈsaɪn/
verb (used with object)
to give or allocate; allot:
to assign rooms at a hotel.
to give out or announce as a task:
to assign homework.
to appoint, as to a post or duty:
to assign one to guard duty.
to designate; name; specify:
to assign a day for a meeting.
to ascribe; attribute; bring forward:
to assign a cause.
Law. to transfer:
to assign a contract.
Military. to place permanently on duty with a unit or under a commander.
verb (used without object)
Law. to transfer property, especially in trust or for the benefit of creditors.
Usually, assigns. Law. a person to whom the property or interest of another is or may be transferred; assignee:
my heirs and assigns.
Origin of assign
1250-1300; Middle English assignen < Old French assigner < Latin assignāre. See as-, sign
Related forms
assigner; Chiefly Law. assignor
[uh-sahy-nawr, as-uh-nawr] /ə saɪˈnɔr, ˌæs əˈnɔr/ (Show IPA),
misassign, verb
nonassigned, adjective
preassign, verb (used with object)
preassigned, adjective
reassign, verb (used with object)
self-assigned, adjective
unassigned, adjective
well-assigned, adjective
1. Assign, allocate, allot mean to apportion or measure out. To assign is to distribute available things, designating them to be given to or reserved for specific persons or purposes: to assign duties. To allocate is to earmark or set aside parts of things available or expected in the future, each for a specific purpose: to allocate income to various types of expenses. To allot implies making restrictions as to amount, size, purpose, etc., and then apportioning or assigning: to allot spaces for parking. 4. fix, determine. 5. adduce, allege, advance, show, offer. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for assign
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He was introduced to the boys, and then took them off to assign them their rooms.

    The Rover Boys at Colby Hall Arthur M. Winfield
  • The assign could vouch the first grantor only on the principles of succession.

    The Common Law Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
  • It is employed here in contradistinction to physicians, and I have not ventured to assign a modern equivalent.

  • No one can assign a date to the foundation of these high-hill cities.

    New Italian sketches John Addington Symonds
  • The mind is also able to look at these perceptions, to assign them a meaning and to reflect upon them.

British Dictionary definitions for assign


verb (mainly transitive)
to select for and appoint to a post, etc: to assign an expert to the job
to give out or allot (a task, problem, etc): to assign advertising to an expert
to set apart (a place, person, time, etc) for a particular function or event: to assign a day for the meeting
to attribute to a specified cause, origin, or source; ascribe: to assign a stone cross to the Vikings
to transfer (one's right, interest, or title to property) to someone else
(also intransitive) (law) (formerly) to transfer (property) to trustees so that it may be used for the benefit of creditors
(military) to allocate (men or materials) on a permanent basis Compare attach (sense 6)
(computing) to place (a value corresponding to a variable) in a memory location
(law) a person to whom property is assigned; assignee
Derived Forms
assignable, adjective
assignability, noun
assignably, adverb
assigner, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French assigner, from Latin assignāre, from signāre to mark out
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 assign

c.1300, from Old French assiginer (13c.) "assign, set (a date, etc.); appoint legally; allot," from Latin assignare "to mark out, to allot by sign, assign, award," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + signare "make a sign," from signum "mark" (see sign). Main original use was in English law, in transferences of personal property. General meaning "to fix, settle, determine, appoint" is from c.1300. Related: Assigned; assigning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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