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Borrowed from Middle French presumption, from Old French presumption, from Latin praesumptiō.


  • IPA(key): /pɹɪˈzʌmpʃən/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʌmpʃən


presumption (countable and uncountable, plural presumptions)

  1. The act of presuming, or something presumed.
    • 1832, Thomas De Quincey, “James's History of Charlemagne”, in Blackwood's Magazine:
      Yet, in contradiction to all these very plausible presumptions, even this remote period teems with its own peculiar and separate instruction.
  2. The belief of something based upon reasonable evidence, or upon something known to be true.
    Coordinate terms: see Thesaurus:supposition
    The presumption is that an event has taken place.
    • 1711 December 8, [Jonathan Swift], The Conduct of the Allies, and of the Late Ministry, in Beginning and Carrying on the Present War, 4th edition, London: [] John Morphew [], published 1711, →OCLC, page 33:
      I have here imputed the Continuance of the War to the mutual Indulgence between our General and Allies, wherein they both so well found their Accounts; to the Fears of the Mony-changers, left their Tables should be overthrown; to the Designs of the Whigs, who apprehended the Loss of their Credit and Employments in a Peace; and to those at home, who held their immoderate Engrossments of Power and Favour, by no other Tenure than their own Presumption upon the Necessity of Affairs.
  3. The condition upon which something is presumed.
  4. (dated) Arrogant behaviour; the act of venturing beyond due bounds of reverence or respect.
  5. (law) An inference that a trier of fact is either permitted or required to draw under certain factual circumstances (as prescribed by statute or case law) unless the party against whom the inference is drawn is able to rebut it with admissible, competent evidence.
    • Bandini Petroleum Co. v. Superior Court, 284 U.S. 8, 18–19 (1931)
      The state, in the exercise of its general power to prescribe rules of evidence, may provide that proof of a particular fact, or of several facts taken collectively, shall be prima facie evidence of another fact when there is some rational connection between the fact proved and the ultimate fact presumed. The legislative presumption is invalid when it is entirely arbitrary, or creates an invidious discrimination, or operates to deprive a party of a reasonable opportunity to present the pertinent facts in his defense.


Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


Middle French[edit]


presumption f (plural presumptions)

  1. assumption


  • French: présomption


  • presomption on Dictionnaire du Moyen Français (1330–1500) (in French)

Old French[edit]


First known attestation circa 1180 in Anglo-Norman as presumpsion. Borrowed from Latin praesumptiō.[1]


presumption oblique singularf (oblique plural presumptions, nominative singular presumption, nominative plural presumptions)

  1. (often law) presumption (something which is presumed)



  1. ^ Walther von Wartburg (1928–2002), “praesumptiō”, in Französisches Etymologisches Wörterbuch (in German), volume 9: Placabilis–Pyxis, page 320