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Video footage: CIRCA 1960s - A technologist shows how to ascertain what the distance should be between the equipment and a patient's breast during a mammogram in 1965.
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Definition of the verb ascertain

What does ascertain mean as a doing word?

verb - inflections: ascertained | ascertaining | ascertains

  1. establish after a calculation, investigation, experiment, survey, or study
    • lexical domain: Communication - verbs of telling, asking, ordering, singing
    • synonyms of ascertain: determine / find / find out
    • more specific words:
      • gauge = determine the capacity, volume, or contents of by measurement and calculation
      • translate = determine the amino-acid sequence of a protein during its synthesis by using information on the messenger RNA
      • rectify = math: determine the length of
      • redetermine = fix, find, or establish again
      • sequence = determine the order of constituents in
      • refract = determine the refracting power of
      • enumerate / numerate / number / count = determine the number or amount of
      • admeasure = determine the quantity of someone's share
      • situate / locate = determine or indicate the place, site, or limits of, as if by an instrument or by a survey
  2. be careful or certain to do something; make certain of something
    • syntax:
      Syntactic formulaExample for the syntactic formula
      [Cause] [Verb] [Beneficiary] [Theme, object control with infinitive]The circumstances ensured that he would arrive in time
      [Cause] [Verb] [Beneficiary] [Theme, not sentential clause]Our exertions ensured us a good outcome
      [Cause] [Verb] [Theme]Our exertions ensured a good outcome
      [Cause] [Verb] [Theme] for [Beneficiary]The circumstances ensured a good outcome for him

      Ensure Verbs (with the same syntax): assure, ensure, guarantee, insure, secure.

    • lexical domain: Cognition - verbs of thinking, judging, analyzing, doubting
    • synonyms of ascertain: assure / check / control / ensure / insure / see / see to it
    • more generic word: verify = confirm the truth of
    • more specific words:
      • proofread / proof = read for errors
      • control = verify by using a duplicate register for comparison
      • double-check = check once more to be absolutely sure
      • cross-check = check out conflicting sources
      • cinch = make sure of
      • card = ask someone for identification to determine whether he or she is old enough to consume liquor
      • spot-check = pick out random samples for examination in order to ensure high quality
      • cover = maintain a check on
  3. find out, learn, or determine with certainty, usually by making an inquiry or other effort
    • example: They ascertain whether there was a traffic accident
    • lexical domain: Communication - verbs of telling, asking, ordering, singing
    • synonyms of ascertain: check / determine / find out / learn / see / watch
    • more specific word: test = determine the presence or properties of
  4. learn or discover with certainty
    • example: They ascertain that there was a traffic accident
    • syntax:
      Syntactic formulaExample for the syntactic formula
      [Agent - being or organization] [Verb] [Theme, how-extraction]I discovered how she did it
      [Agent - being or organization] [Verb] [Theme, that-complement clause]I discovered that it didn't make sense
      [Agent - being or organization] [Verb] [Theme, wh-infinitive clause]I discovered how to do it
      [Agent - being or organization] [Verb] [Theme, what-extraction]I discovered what he should do
      [Agent - being or organization] [Verb] [Theme, what-infinitive clause]I discovered what to do
      [Agent - being or organization] [Verb] [Theme, not sentential clause]I discovered the fleece

      Discover Verbs (with the same syntax): deduce, determine, discover, figure out, find, guess, rationalize, realize, solve.

    • lexical domain: Cognition - verbs of thinking, judging, analyzing, doubting
    • more generic terms: discover / find out / get a line / get wind / get word / hear / learn / pick up / see = get to know or become aware of, usually accidentally
    • more specific word: price = ascertain or learn the price of

Alternative definition of the verb ascertain


  1. To find out definitely; to discover or establish.

Definition of the verb ascertain for high school students

    to perceive, learn
    • example: With a bit of research, the student ascertained that some plants can live for weeks without water.

The verb ascertain is considered to be a word that all college-aspiring students should know and understand, so it frequently appears on the SAT, ACT and other college admissions tests.


"Ascertain" is a musical album of Sleep Bellum Sonno.

  • released on (9 years ago)

Printed dictionaries and other books with definitions for Ascertain

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Google previewA Dictionary of the Bible: Feign-Kinsman (1901)

The next poin' to ascertain is the o of En-rogel; and this seems comparatively easy, as there appears to be a consensus of opinion at the resent day that it corresponds to the copious irgin's Fountain. It is the only known fountain in the vicinity of ...

Google previewPolitical Discourse and National Identity in Scotland (2011)

by Murray Stewart Leith, Daniel P. J. Soule

what we are able to ascertain is a range of scores that indicate a general pattern across time and ...

Google previewBuilding Surveys and Reports (2010)

by James Douglas

The purpose of the survey There are several conditions under which a surveyor may be required to survey or examine a building and the first point to ascertain is the reason for which the advice is being sought. The following is a list of the ...

Google previewProphetic Rage (2013)

by Johnny Bernard Hill

Western practices must ascertain is the significance of community and others in the worship experience. Indeed, it is within the context of community that we are able to understand how to worship and whom to worship. The Anglican Church ...

Google previewThe Romantic Ideal (2012)

by Christopher Alan Anderson

For now, the point to ascertain is that the ...

Google previewThe International Business Encyclopedia (1910)

The Up-to-date, Down-to-the Minute Business Dictionary by Elmer Henry Beach, W. W. Thorne

The auditor must ascertain that all of the assets shown by the books to be on hand at a certain date are or were actually on hand. 2.

Google previewBuilding Contract Dictionary (2008)

by David Chappell, Vincent Powell-Smith, Derek Marshall, Simon Cavender

It has been held: 'Furthermore ''to ascertain'' ...

Google previewA Dictionary of Architecture and Building (1901)

Biographical, Historical, and Descriptive by Russell Sturgis

Tests to ascertain resistance to freezing. The preliminary proceedings are the same as in the Lost case, the cubes being repeatedly frozen and thawed while saturated with water. After the freezing and thawing, the specimens are dried and ...

Google previewThe American and English Encyclopedia of Law and Practice (1910)

To ascertain means to make sure or certain, to fiX,~to establish, to determine, to settle.“ " , . -1. .-merely descriptive of the material used in the prladter-,' the sfile by other parties ofplaster under thatfnaine is-not an infringement of a registered ...

Google previewThe Encyclopaedia of Pleading and Practice (1902)

Under the Codes and Practice Acts, at Common Law, in Equity and in Criminal Cases

To Ascertain Best Method of Selling Land.—— Where there is a question as to whether it would be more appropriate to sell the land in lots or in bulk, 21 reference may be ordered to ascertain which plan is preferable, after there has been a ...

Google previewBuilding Law Encyclopaedia (2009)

by David Chappell, Michael H. Dunn, Michael Cowlin

Ascertain They are usually provided by the contractor for the purposes of the health and safety file, but as far as JCT contracts are concerned are also important in relation to practical completion (qv). Practical completion under SBC clause ...

Google previewAn Encyclopaedia of Civil Engineering, Historical, Theoretical, and Practical (1865)

by Edward Cresy

correctly taken ; but if the sum of the addition is more or less than 1 80°, measure the angles again, to ascertain whence the error has occurred, and by successive operations correct it. To find the salient and re-entering Angle of a Plan, ...

Online dictionaries and encyclopedias with entries for Ascertain

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Usage statistics about ascertain

The following statistics are based on the British National Corpus, so they are representative for the British English from the later part of the 20th century, both spoken and written.

Distribution of usage frequency for the most common synonyms of the verb ascertain:


Photos about Ascertain

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Aurora attempting to ascertain the damage.

Photo credit: aurorasoul

If you need related images for an article or a report, you can download stock photos:
Small photo of a young couple standing near and ascertain relationships gesticulating handsSmall photo of Decorative small dogs do set up a connection while walking. Ascertain respect doggy found funny. Pug and Pomeranian met and get acquainted. More...

Video language resources about Ascertain

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Quotes about Ascertain

When I consider what it was that moved me to join the Communist Party, I have to cast my mind back for more than a quarter of a century to try and ascertain what precisely my motives at that time were. (Bram Fischer)
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Scrabble value of A1S1C3E1R1T1A1I1N1

The value of this 9-letter word is 11 points. It is included in the first and second editions of the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary.

Anagrams of ASCERTAIN

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