verb as·cer·tain \ˌa-sər-ˈtān\

: to learn or find out (something, such as information or the truth)

Full Definition of ASCERTAIN

transitive verb
archaic :  to make certain, exact, or precise
:  to find out or learn with certainty
as·cer·tain·able \-ˈtā-nə-bəl\ adjective
as·cer·tain·ment \-ˈtān-mənt\ noun

Examples of ASCERTAIN

  1. We look at digital media—images, audio and video—and we try to ascertain whether or not they've been manipulated. We use mathematical and computational techniques to detect alterations in them. —Claudia Dreifus, New York Times, 2 Oct. 2007


Middle English acertainen to inform, give assurance to, from Anglo-French acerteiner, from a- (from Latin ad-) + certein, certain certain
First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of ASCERTAIN

discover, ascertain, determine, unearth, learn mean to find out what one did not previously know. discover may apply to something requiring exploration or investigation or to a chance encounter <discovered the source of the river>. ascertain implies effort to find the facts or the truth proceeding from awareness of ignorance or uncertainty <attempts to ascertain the population of the region>. determine emphasizes the intent to establish the facts definitely or precisely <unable to determine the origin of the word>. unearth implies bringing to light something forgotten or hidden <unearth old records>. learn may imply acquiring knowledge with little effort or conscious intention (as by simply being told) or it may imply study and practice <I learned her name only today> <learning Greek>.
ASCERTAIN Defined for Kids


verb as·cer·tain \ˌa-sər-ˈtān\

Definition of ASCERTAIN for Kids

:  to find out with certainty <Police tried to ascertain the cause of the accident.>


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