What Does Presumptuous Mean? | Definition & Examples

Presumptuous is an adjective meaning “excessively bold or forward.” It’s used to describe someone behaving in an entitled or overfamiliar way and therefore coming across as rude or arrogant. It can also mean “characterized by presumption” or “likely to presume.”

Examples: “Presumptuous” in a sentence
It was presumptuous of Jane to borrow Dan’s car without asking him.

Marco made a presumptuous remark when he said he should have won employee of the month.

It’s presumptuous to believe we are alone in the universe.

Karla is not presumptuous; she’s usually quite unassuming.

Presumptuous vs. presumptive

Presumptuous and presumptive are both related to the word “presume,” but they don’t mean the same thing:

  • Presumptuous is used to describe someone or something as “overstepping authority” or “characterized by presumption.”
  • Presumptive is used to describe something as “probable” or “likely.” It’s used in the term “heir presumptive,” meaning someone who is likely (but not certain) to inherit something.
Example: “Presumptive” in a sentence
Based on his guilty expression, Simon was the presumptive thief.

There was an upset in the race today when the presumptive winner actually finished in sixth place.

Other interesting language articles

If you want to know more about commonly confused words, definitions, and differences between US and UK spellings, make sure to check out some of our other language articles with explanations, examples, and quizzes.

Frequently asked questions

What is a synonym of “presumptuous”?

Some synonyms for “presumptuous” include:

  • Arrogant
  • Audacious
  • Bold
  • Cheeky
  • Conceited
  • Familiar
  • Forward
  • Immodest
  • Insolent
  • Overconfident
  • Overfamiliar
What is an antonym of “presumptuous”?

Some antonyms (opposites) for “presumptuous” include:

  • Deferential
  • Meek
  • Modest
  • Obedient
  • Unassertive
  • Unassuming
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Eoghan Ryan

Eoghan has a lot of experience with theses and dissertations at bachelor's, MA, and PhD level. He has taught university English courses, helping students to improve their research and writing.

1 comment

Eoghan Ryan
Eoghan Ryan (Scribbr Team)
September 5, 2022 at 7:40 PM

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