From Middle English assignen, from Old French assigner, asigner, from Latin assignō, from ad- + signō (mark, sign).


  • IPA(key): /əˈsaɪn/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: as‧sign
  • Rhymes: -aɪn


assign (third-person singular simple present assigns, present participle assigning, simple past and past participle assigned)

  1. (transitive) To designate or set apart (something) for some purpose.
    to assign a day for trial
  2. (transitive) To appoint or select (someone) for some office.
    to assign counsel for a prisoner
  3. (transitive) To allot or give (something) as a task.
    • 1829, Robert Southey, Sir Thomas More: Or, Colloquies on the Progress and Prospects of Society, volume I, London: John Murray, page 210:
      “I cannot do it, Sir !” was his reply. “I fire into their ranks, and that does as well ; but to single out one among them, and mark him for death, would lie upon my mind afterwards.” The man who could feel thus was worthy of a better station than that in which his lot had been assigned.
    • 1857, William Hickling Prescott, “War with France”, in History of the Reign of Philip the Second, King of Spain, volume I, new edition, London: G. Routledge & Co., page 116:
      He assigned his men to their several posts, talked boldly of maintaining himself against all the troops of Spain, and by his cheerful tone endeavoured to inspire a confidence in others which he was far from feeling himself.
    • 1910, Emerson Hough, chapter I, in The Purchase Price: Or The Cause of Compromise, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, OCLC 639762314:
      Captain Edward Carlisle [] felt a curious sensation of helplessness seize upon him as he met her steady gaze, []; he could not tell what this prisoner might do. He cursed the fate which had assigned such a duty, cursed especially that fate which forced a gallant soldier to meet so superb a woman as this under handicap so hard.
  4. (transitive) To attribute or sort (something) into categories.
  5. (transitive, law) To transfer (property, a legal right, etc.) from one person to another.
  6. (transitive, programming) To give (a value) to a variable.
    We assign 100 to x.


Derived termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


assign (plural assigns)

  1. An assignee.
  2. (obsolete) A thing relating or belonging to something else; an appurtenance.
  3. (obsolete) An assignment or appointment.
  4. (obsolete) A design or purpose.
    • 1609, John Ford, “Fame's Memorial: An Elegy upon the Earl of Devonshire”, in (Please provide the book title or journal name), page 9:
      He aim’d at high designs, and so attain’d / The high assigns to which his spirit aim’d.