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Definition of assign

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

Definition of assign  (Entry 2 of 2)

ascribe , attribute , assign , impute , credit mean to lay something to the account of a person or thing.

ascribe suggests an inferring or conjecturing of cause, quality, authorship.

attribute suggests less tentativeness than ascribe , less definiteness than assign .

assign implies ascribing with certainty or after deliberation.

impute suggests ascribing something that brings discredit by way of accusation or blame.

credit implies ascribing a thing or especially an action to a person or other thing as its agent, source, or explanation.

Example Sentences

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'assign.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Verb and Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French assigner , from Latin assignare , from ad- + signare to mark, from signum mark, sign

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Phrases Containing assign

Dictionary Entries Near assign

Cite this entry.

“Assign.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary , Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/assign. Accessed 25 May. 2023.

Kids Definition

Kids definition of assign, legal definition, legal definition of assign.

Legal Definition of assign  (Entry 2 of 2)

More from Merriam-Webster on assign

Nglish: Translation of assign for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of assign for Arabic Speakers

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What Is the Definition of Assigns

Definition of assigns refers to the assignment of a contract, and it is what happens when one party in the contract gives his or her rights to another party. 3 min read

The definition of assigns refers to the assignment of a contract, and it is what happens when one party in the contract gives his or her rights to another party. The party giving away rights is the assignor and the one receiving the rights is the assignee. The assignor typically asks that the assignee perform all the contractual obligations and receive all the benefits of the agreement. The person assigned the contract has to be aware of this assignation.

Subleased Property is an Example of an Assignment

One easy way to show what an assignment is would be when a tenant in a leased property decides to move and assigns, or subleases the property to a third party. The new tenant then has the right to take up residence in the property along with the obligation to meet all terms from the original lease . There are times, however, when the contract language affects the ability to make this type of assignment. Contracts may prohibit assignment using a clause, while some contracts simply require the assignee to consent to the agreement.

Contractual Assignment Issues

It isn't always possible to simply assign a contract. Some examples include:

Anti-Assignment Clauses

An anti-assignment clause in a contract prohibits any assignment of the contract. If one of the parties tries to assign the contract, that assignment is void. This is common when an assignment:

Laws and Public Policies That Prohibit Assignment

Some examples of laws and public policies that prohibit contractual assignments include:

An anti-assignment clause can be worded simply, stating that the parties involved can't assign or delegate rights under the contract's terms.

Privity of Contract

The term privity of contract tells you that if the assignee picks up the assignor's contractual duties, it indicates if the assignee has agreed to take on the assignment. For the assignee to be held to the legal duty to meet the contractual obligations, there has to be an expressed intention to take on the responsibility the assignor originally held in the agreement. The contract between the original parties wouldn't affect the issue, and a provision in the contract wouldn't be binding on the assignee in regard to rights to perform the assignor's obligations under the contract.

Contractor Work as an Example of an Assignment

One way to envision the process of assignment is to imagine yourself as a housing contractor. Someone pays you a sum of money to do a job. You get hurt and can't do it, or maybe you decide you can make more on a different job. You hire someone, a third-party subcontractor , to do the job in your place. The person doing the work in your place is the assignee and you are the assignor. You might pay the person taking over the work the full amount, or you may take a cut and pay them a smaller amount.

Obligor's Agreement Not Required

The success of an assignment doesn't require the obligor's agreement. If the assignment is valid, and there is no clause in the original agreement prohibiting assignment, the obligor's duty shifts from the original contracting party, the assignor, to the assignee. The obligor, as the non-assigning party, is contractually obligated to fulfill his or her duty to the assignee.

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What does assigning mean?

Definitions for assigning as·sign·ing, this dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word assigning ., princeton's wordnet rate this definition: 0.0 / 0 votes.

assignment, assigning noun

the act of distributing something to designated places or persons

"the first task is the assignment of an address to each datum"

Webster Dictionary Rate this definition: 0.0 / 0 votes

Matched categories.

How to pronounce assigning?

Alex US English David US English Mark US English Daniel British Libby British Mia British Karen Australian Hayley Australian Natasha Australian Veena Indian Priya Indian Neerja Indian Zira US English Oliver British Wendy British Fred US English Tessa South African

How to say assigning in sign language?

Chaldean Numerology

The numerical value of assigning in Chaldean Numerology is: 7

Pythagorean Numerology

The numerical value of assigning in Pythagorean Numerology is: 9

Examples of assigning in a Sentence

Geraldo Rivera :

All you can do with this defund the police nonsense is ignore the fact that you are essentially assigning a third-world existence to a huge segment of the population all in the name of anti-racism.

Michael Lawhorn :

Assigning a permanent general officer to the area to oversee the train, advise, assist mission is a sign of how important Helmand is both to the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the international coalition.

Marylin Zuniga :

Marylin Zuniga, a first-year teacher who drew widespread condemnation for assigning Marylin Zuniga young charges the task of writing to Mumia Abu-Jamal, was canned at the meeting of the Orange Board of Education, the Star-Ledger of Newark reported. Even when I heard that the letters were written... because of compassion, you could've written to somebody in a nursing home. - Gloria Stewart, Orange Board of Education, NJ resident Marylin Zuniga, who taught at Forest Street Elementary School, told board members prior to their hasty vote to can Marylin Zuniga that Marylin Zuniga has broad support from around the country, the newspaper reported. There's people around the nation who support me, who believe I need to be reinstated and I believe that I need to be reinstated, my students need me in the classroom. My students have requested that I come back to the classroom. Abu-Jamal, a 61-year-old serving a life sentence for the 1981 murder of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner, is a self-styled poet who became a darling of celebrities and activists while on death row. His sentence was later commuted to life without parole, and he was suffering from complications from diabetes when Marylin Zuniga assigned the task. The vote to fire Zuniga occurred after several hours of public speakers, many of whom praised Zuniga for teaching Marylin Zuniga students to have compassion for a man who killed a police officer. Abu-Jamal killed Daniel Faulkner during a routine traffic stop of Abu-Jamal’s brother. At trial, several witnesses reported seeing Abu-Jamal kill Daniel Faulkner, and two witnesses said Abu-Jamal confessed to the killing, saying, I shot the mother --- er, and I hope the mother --- er dies. Although the abrupt vote left meeting attendees unsure of what had happened, Orange Board of Education Superintendent Ronald Lee confirmed that Marylin Zuniga was fired in an email to the Star-Ledger. As this is a personnel issue, I have no further comments on this matter, Orange Superintendent Ronald Lee wrote. Zuniga’s attorney, Alan Levine, told the newspaper Marylin Zuniga is now considering legal action to challenge Marylin Zuniga firing. Several speakers at the meeting, including Essex County Freeholder President Britnee Timberlake, praised Marylin Zuniga.

John Whitehead :

I remember assigning one young fellow, who later became an important partner, to keep records about companies that might want to merge with a larger company or might be interested in acquisitions, and then we tried to match them up. We were doing this before anybody thought that there might be business for investment bankers in the merger field.

An FBI spokesperson :

Under Director Wray's leadership, the FBI has been, and will continue to be, fully cooperative with Mr. Durham's review. This includes providing documents and assigning personnel to assist Director Wray team, while the FBI does not comment on ongoing legal matters, it is important to note the employee in this case no longer works at the FBI resigning before an internal disciplinary process was completed.

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Translations for assigning, from our multilingual translation dictionary.

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definition of assigns

Individuals to whom property is, will, or may be transferred by conveyance, will , Descent and Distribution , or statute; assignees.

The term assigns is often found in deeds; for example, "heirs, administrators, and assigns to denote the assignable nature of the interest or right created."

ASSIGNS, contracts. Those to whom rights have been transmitted by particular title, such as sale, gift, legacy, transfer, or cession. Vide Ham. Paities, 230; Lofft. 316. These words, and also the word forever, are commonly added to the word heirs in deeds conveying a fee simple, heirs and assigns forever "but they are in such cases inoperative. 2 Barton's Elem. Convey. 7, (n.) But see Fleta, lib. 3, cap. 14, Sec. 6. The use of naming them, is explained in Spencer's Case, 5 Rep. 16; and Ham. Parties, 128. The word heirs, however, does not include or imply assigns. 1 Anderson's Rep. 299.


The Law Dictionary

TheLaw.com Law Dictionary & Black's Law Dictionary 2nd Ed.

contracts. Those to whom rights have been transmitted by particular title, such as sale, gift, legacy, transfer, or cession. These words, and also the word forever, are commonly added to the word heirs in deeds conveying a fee simple, heirs and assigns forever but they are in such cases inoperative. The use of naming them, is explained in Spencer’s Case, 5 Rep. 16; and Ham. Parties, 128. The word heirs, however, does not include or imply assigns.

Law Dictionary – Alternative Legal Definition

Assignees; those to whom property shall have been transferred. Now seldom used except in the phrase, in deeds, “heirs, administrators, and assigns.”


Origin of assign, synonym study for assign, other words from assign, words nearby assign, words related to assign, how to use assign in a sentence.

It is designed to listen to meetings with multiple participants and will parse discussion patterns to produce informative synopses and assign post-meeting action items.

Such randomized, double-blinded controlled trials randomly assign patients to receive a drug or a placebo, and don’t reveal to participants or doctors who is getting which.

That AI could pore over an astronaut’s symptoms and then recommend medical tests, make diagnoses and assign treatments.

So I rose beyond cleaning, to working as an operational dispatcher for cabin services in the American Airlines traffic control center, assign cleaning crews to each incoming aircraft.

Ideally, the Mars spaceship would be equipped with artificial intelligence that could consider an astronaut’s symptoms, recommend medical tests, make diagnoses and assign treatments.

Now the Kremlin will assign more loyal people to rule the region, mostly military leaders.

When we assign a primitive “not me” status to another individual or social group, it can—and does—take us down a destructive path.

Other folks can debate and assign blame for “who lost Iraq.”

Renee Richardson knows she'll likely never be able to assign blame for her son's death—she's done fighting for that.

Girls are directed through several pages of this until they are asked to assign the guy a series of pre-decided adjectives.

The designs of Russia have long been proverbial; but the exercise of the new art of printing may assign them new features.

With what honest pride did John Smith, the best farmer of them all, step to the fore and assign to each man his place!

If the lessee die, his executor or administrator can assign the remainder of his term.

As the lessee may assign or sublet unless forbidden, so may the lessor part with his interest in the leased premises.

If offered any dish of which you do not wish to partake, decline it, but do not assign any reason.

British Dictionary definitions for assign

Derived forms of assign, word origin for assign.


  1. Assign Meaning

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  1. Assigns

    Assign definition is - to transfer (property) to another especially in trust or for the benefit of creditors. How to use assign in a sentence. Synonym Discussion of assign

  2. What Is the Definition of Assigns

    The person assigned the contract has to be aware of this assignation. If one of the parties tries to assign the contract, that assignment is void. Federal regulations that prohibit some types of claims against the government from being assigned

  3. Definition of assigns

    What is assigns: Plural form of assign.. Synonyms: heinz, hines, affines, aligns, alines, assign, bines, brines, clines, combines, confines, declines, defines, designs, dines, pines

  4. Assign

    Define assign. assign synonyms, assign pronunciation, assign translation, English dictionary definition of assign. tr.v. as·signed , as·sign·ing , as·signs 1. To select for a duty or office

  5. Definition of ASSIGNS • Law Dictionary • TheLaw.com

    Legal definition for ASSIGNS: contracts. These words, and also the word forever, are commonly added to the word heirs in deeds conveying a fee simple, heirs and assigns forever but they are in such cases inoperative

  6. Assign

    Assign definition, to give or allocate; allot: to assign rooms at a hotel. assign is to distribute available things, designating them to be given to or reserved for specific persons or purposes