Assertive Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How to Use It

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Many people believe being assertive is rude, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, being assertive means you have respect for others’ thoughts and opinions. 

Interested in learning more? We can help. Read on to discover everything you need to know about the word assertive. By the end of this post, you should have a clear understanding of what assertive means and how it’s used in a sentence. 

What Is the Definition of Assertive?

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, an individual who is assertive (əˈsɝː.t̬ɪv) behaves confidently and isn’t afraid to say what they want or believe. In other words, the term assertive can be defined as expressing opinions or desires strongly and with confidence. 

If you are confidently aggressive or self-assured, you could be described as assertive. 

What Is the Origin of the Word Assertive?

The positive declaratory adjective assertive — meaning full of assertion — was first created in the 1560s by combining the verb assert and -ive

That said, our word of the day comes from Latin assertus, meaning, “claimed” or “defended.”

What Are the Synonyms and Antonyms of Assertive?

Now that you have a much better understanding of the word assertive, let’s take a look at some synonyms and antonyms

Synonyms and antonyms are tools that can help enrich your overall vocabulary — but what are they?

In short, a synonym is a word or expression that has the same or similar meaning to a given word whereas an antonym has the opposite meaning to a given word. 

Synonyms of assertive include:

  • Ardent
  • Zealous
  • Firm
  • Spirited
  • Earnest
  • Resolut
  • Active
  • Imperious 
  • Domineering 
  • Full-blooded
  • Vigorous
  • Forceful
  • Aggressive
  • Pushy
  • Ambitious
  • Self-assertive
  • Bold
  • Bossy
  • Commanding
  • Go getting
  • Bullish
  • Potent
  • Authoritative
  • In your face
  • High pressure
  • Feisty 
  • Gung ho 
  • Dauntless
  • Sure of oneself
  • Believe in oneself
  • Can do 
  • Strong-willed
  • Steely
  • Dogged
  • Unyielding
  • Staunch
  • Self-respecting
  • Sanguine 
  • Unbending 
  • Emphatic
  • Pushing
  • Come on strong
  • Full of beans
  • Offensive
  • Obnoxious
  • Authoritarian
  • Full of life  
  • Confrontational 
  • Aggressive
  • Cheeky
  • Militant 
  • Up in arms 
  • Of fixed views 
  • Stubborn
  • Out and out
  • Point blank
  • Unadulterated 
  • Play for keeps 

Antonyms of assertive include:

  • Aw shucks
  • Low pressure
  • Coy
  • Humble
  • Reserved
  • Unaspiring 
  • Unassertive
  • Ambitionless
  • Withdrawn
  • Like a fish out of water
  • Doubting
  • Declining
  • Faint-hearted
  • Easily embarrassed
  • Chaste
  • Stiff
  • Artificial
  • Self-critical
  • Self-doubting
  • Relenting
  • Tolerant 
  • Trivial
  • Self reproving 
  • Weak
  • Farming
  • Non-resisting 
  • Helpless
  • Pliable
  • Not positive
  • Laidback

How Can You Use Assertive in a Sentence?

Many people think being assertive is synonymous with being rude, but the truth is that it’s a core communication skill. 

Assertiveness can help you effectively express yourself and stand up for your personal point of view. What’s more, being assertive can help you do this while respecting the beliefs and rights of others. With this in mind, let’s put our newfound knowledge to the test and practice using our word of the day in a sentence. 

Need some help? Check out our example sentences listed below to help get you going:

“Christy has always been very direct and assertive in all of her speeches. As such, I feel she has been the best candidate hands-down.” 

“Despite being stuck in a difficult situation, I remained assertive in my approach.”

“How many times must we repeat ourselves? Just be assertive and ask for help. We are all here to guide you and assist along the way.” 

“Assertive people are usually outspoken and respected by others.”

“Contrary to what you may think, I did not teach him to pick a fight; I taught him to be assertive and to stand up against bullies.” 

“Some people feel having an assertive behavior is rude, but I think otherwise.”

“When traveling outside of the country, it’s important to be assertive when asking your tour guide questions about the landscape to prevent getting lost.”

“Cindy’s behavior wasn’t just assertive, but mean and unappreciated.”

“To get what you want in life, many people say an assertive communication style is key.”

“I appreciate a teacher who is assertive and direct rather than someone who likes to beat around the bush.”

“Unfortunately, some folks aren’t assertive enough to ask for help when they need it most.”

What Are Translations of Assertive?

Wondering how to say assertive in a different language? Not to worry — we’ve got you covered! Here are some of the most common translations of our word of the day:

  • American English — assertive  
  • Afrikaans — Self Geldende
  • Brazilian Portuguese — assertivo 
  • Czech — asertivní
  • Danish — Selvhævdende
  • Chinese — 坚定自信的
  • Bulgarian — настоятелен
  • Arabic — حزما
  • Norwegian — påståelig
  • Russian — напористый
  • Finnish — itsevarma
  • Italian — che sa imporsi 
  • Japanese — 自己主張の強い
  • Korean — 자기주장을 뚜렷이 내세우는
  • European Portuguese — assertivo 
  • Spanish — enérgico 
  • Greek — βεβαιωτικός
  • Polish — twierdzący
  • Croatian — deklarativan
  • Thai — ที่ยืนยันอย่างมั่นใจ
  • Chinese (simplified) — 自信
  • European Spanish — enérgico 
  • French — assuré 
  • British English — assertive  
  • German — selbstbewusst, durchsetzungsfähig


In short, you want to use the word assertive when describing a person who is forceful in their actions, yet self-confident enough to make bold and aggressive statements. 

While the English language may have many words to describe getting what you want, if you are assertive, you’re less insistent, demanding, or pushy than most other commonly-used terms. 


Assertive | Definition In The | Cambridge English Dictionary 

Assertive Synonyms | Collins English Thesaurus 

28 Synonyms & Antonyms For Assertive | Thesaurus.Com