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From Old French acertener, from (a- (to, towards) + certener (make sure of), from the adjective certain.



ascertain (third-person singular simple present ascertains, present participle ascertaining, simple past and past participle ascertained)

  1. To find out definitely; to discover or establish.
    Synonyms: determine, discover, establish, find out, learn, work out
    • 1905, Baroness Emmuska Orczy, chapter 1, in The Tremarn Case[1]:
      “There the cause of death was soon ascertained ; the victim of this daring outrage had been stabbed to death from ear to ear with a long, sharp instrument, in shape like an antique stiletto, which […] was subsequently found under the cushions of the hansom. […]”
    As soon as we ascertain what the situation is, we can plan how to proceed.
  2. (archaic) To make (someone) certain or confident.
    • 1483, Richard III of England, personal letter
      We would most gladly ye came yourself if that ye may...praying you to ascertain us of your News.