Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To discover with certainty, as through examination or experimentation. See Synonyms at discover.
  • transitive v. Archaic To make certain, definite, and precise.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To find out definitely; to discover or establish.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To render (a person) certain; to cause to feel certain; to make confident; to assure; to apprise.
  • transitive v. To make (a thing) certain to the mind; to free from obscurity, doubt, or change; to make sure of; to fix; to determine.
  • transitive v. To find out or learn for a certainty, by trial, examination, or experiment; to get to know.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To make certain; determine; define or reduce to precision by removing doubt, obscurity, or ambiguity; establish; prove.
  • To find out by trial, examination, or experiment, so as to know as certain; acquire an accurate knowledge of: as, to ascertain the weight of a commodity or the purity of a metal.
  • To make sure of; insure.
  • To make certain or sure; certify; assure; inform.
  • To establish with certainty; render invariable, or not subject to caprice; fix.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. find out, learn, or determine with certainty, usually by making an inquiry or other effort
  • v. establish after a calculation, investigation, experiment, survey, or study
  • v. be careful or certain to do something; make certain of something
  • v. learn or discover with certainty

Etymologies

Middle English acertainen, to inform, from Old French acertener, ascertain- : a-, to (from Latin ad-; see ad-) + certain, certain; see certain.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French acertener, from (a- ("to, towards") + certener ("make sure of"), from the adjective certain. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • I was able to ascertain from the News forum that there's at least one Telcel shop in Alamos.

    Telcel Sim card.....

  • Separate and distinct from all the preceding categories of signing statement, and apparently even more controversial than any of them, is the use of such statements to create legislative (or "executive") history that is expected to be given weight by the courts in ascertain the meaning of statutory language.

    Presidential Signing Statements

  • This we can ascertain from the frames in Scene 3, where UN troops are present.

    Appendix 2 - The "reburying" controversy

  • Before any claim is paid under the Act or these Regulations the war agency considering the claim shall notify the General Accounting Office as to the proposed settlement, and the General Accounting Office shall ascertain from the contracting and lending agencies of the Government whether they have any claims against the claimant and shall notify the agency concerned with respect thereto.

    EXECUTIVE ORDER 9786

  • Russell has directed a Cabinet to be summoned for to-morrow at three o'clock, at which he intends to propose that "Instructions should be sent to Lord Granville to ascertain from the French Government what terms France would consider satisfactory for the immediate arrangement of the affairs of the East."

    The Letters of Queen Victoria, Volume 1 (of 3), 1837-1843) A Selection from Her Majesty's Correspondence Between the Years 1837 and 1861

  • "All Indian citizens intending to travel to the People's Republic of China are advised that before making any travel arrangements they should first ascertain from the Chinese Embassy or Consulate, as the case may be, whether the visa being issued to them will be affixed to the passport or will be in the nature of a stapled paper visa, so that they are not inconvenienced or put to any financial loss later on this count," the advisory said.

    Hindustan Times News Feeds 'Views'

  • Frantic phone calls ascertain that "Somebody forgot to press a key," when I signed on, and so my payment did not go through.

    Diary of a tenant: No money, no food and no phone credit

  • The force of the enemy in number of men, at the commencement of the action, was no doubt considerably greater than we have been able to ascertain, which is upwards of 400 men.

    The Medallic History of the United States of America 1776-1876

  • This reminds me of a particular episode of the great Canadian sketch comedy program the Kids in the Hall, 'in which' one dude uses the word 'ascertain' like his mind were stuck on rails.

    In which Max discovers a tic, Arnold Kling | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

  • He wanted to "ascertain" and "fix" it at the point now reached in his pronouncements upon it, his receptions and rejections, and to keep it fixed there indefinitely.

    'On Eloquence'

Comments

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  • "Under the spell of the river, Covenant became slowly more conscious of the reassuring solidity of the Land. It was not an intangible dreamscape; it was concrete, susceptible to ascertainment."

    Lord Foul's Bane

    July 29, 2012

  • my test run

    August 5, 2009

  • pta lagana, jaan lena

    August 5, 2009

  • People never know how to pronounce this word. ASS SIR TAIN

    December 30, 2006