• WordNet 3.6
    • v ascertain be careful or certain to do something; make certain of something "He verified that the valves were closed","See that the curtains are closed","control the quality of the product"
    • v ascertain learn or discover with certainty
    • v ascertain establish after a calculation, investigation, experiment, survey, or study "find the product of two numbers","The physicist who found the elusive particle won the Nobel Prize"
    • v ascertain find out, learn, or determine with certainty, usually by making an inquiry or other effort "I want to see whether she speaks French","See whether it works","find out if he speaks Russian","Check whether the train leaves on time"
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Ascertain To find out or learn for a certainty, by trial, examination, or experiment; to get to know; as, to ascertain the weight of a commodity, or the purity of a metal. "He was there only for the purpose of ascertaining whether a descent on England was practicable."
    • Ascertain To make (a thing) certain to the mind; to free from obscurity, doubt, or change; to make sure of; to fix; to determine. "The divine law . . . ascertaineth the truth.""The very deferring [of his execution] shall increase and ascertain the condemnation.""The ministry, in order to ascertain a majority . . . persuaded the queen to create twelve new peers.""The mildness and precision of their laws ascertained the rule and measure of taxation."
    • Ascertain To render (a person) certain; to cause to feel certain; to make confident; to assure; to apprise. "When the blessed Virgin was so ascertained .""Muncer assured them that the design was approved of by Heaven, and that the Almighty had in a dream ascertained him of its effects."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • ascertain To make certain; determine; define or reduce to precision by removing doubt, obscurity, or ambiguity; establish; prove.
    • ascertain To find out by trial, examination, or experiment, so as to know as certain; acquire an accurate knowledge of: as, to ascertain the weight of a commodity or the purity of a metal.
    • ascertain To make sure of; insure.
    • ascertain To make certain or sure; certify; assure; inform.
    • ascertain To establish with certainty; render invariable, or not subject to caprice; fix.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • v.t Ascertain as-sėr-tān′ to determine: to obtain certain knowledge of:
    • v.t Ascertain as-sėr-tān′ (rare) to insure, certify, make certain
    • ***


  • Albert Einstein
    “Science can only ascertain what is, but not what should be, and outside of its domain value judgments of all kinds remain necessary.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OF. acertener,; a,L. ad,) + certain,. See Certain
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
O. Fr. acertener. See Certain.


In literature:

As we approached to ascertain what creatures were uttering these strange sounds, they grew louder and louder.
"In the Wilds of Florida" by W.H.G. Kingston
What success he met with is not now to be ascertained.
"The Rise of Canada, from Barbarism to Wealth and Civilisation" by Charles Roger
It is only on the long-run that he is ascertained.
"Loss and Gain" by John Henry Newman
It has been ascertained that it takes about 39,000 waves of red light to measure an inch if placed end to end.
"Aether and Gravitation" by William George Hooper
As they drew towards the wreck, they looked anxiously to ascertain her condition.
"The Three Midshipmen" by W.H.G. Kingston
If you have a hive that you suspect has lost a queen at this season, her presence can be ascertained nine times in ten by this method.
"Mysteries of Bee-keeping Explained" by M. Quinby
He looked about him to ascertain the cause of the stoppage; but he could make nothing of it.
"Asiatic Breezes" by Oliver Optic
Lucien looked beyond to ascertain the cause of this strange manoeuvre.
"Popular Adventure Tales" by Mayne Reid
I ascertained it in the following manner: I laid myself down alongside the box, and close in to its edge.
"The Boy Tar" by Mayne Reid
The admiral sent one of the pilots up to the look-out to ascertain how we could get free of them.
"Celebrated Travels and Travellers" by Jules Verne

In poetry:

Their names were regularly banned,
The wedding day was settled, and
I've ascertained by dint of search
They were married on the quiet at St. Mary Abbot's Church.
"Thomson Green and Harriet Hale" by William Schwenck Gilbert
"Ah! yes. Ah! yes," a heavy sigh escaped the Centipede;
"And I have other trials, too;--my life is hard indeed!
Why, sometimes when I'm very tired, a long, long time it takes
To ascertain with certainty which foot it is that aches.
"The Two Friends" by Carolyn Wells

In news:

A court's objective in a case involving the interpretation of a contract is to ascertain what the parties intended.
Saturday night I made the executive decision to rewatch Ghostbusters so as best to ascertain its relative awesomeness.
Detroit Pistons' non-rotation players will be watched closely to ascertain their reactions.
'Hitler diaries': how to ascertain authenticity.
MSC dumps 'easily ascertainable ' rule.
To breakthrough out websites offer online cards reviews you can ascertain a fancify.
Presumably a trial will ascertain the facts of the case.
Though costs not specified in contract, they are 'readily ascertainable.
Brown's service records have come under scrutiny by a prosecutor and a judge, who are trying to ascertain their accuracy.
It took over 40-hours to ascertain what caused the issue and to correct the problem.
Apart from the mortgage payment, the main objective of this account is to ascertain whether the homeowner's property taxes, insurance premium as well as other expenses are made on time.
MSC dumps 'easily ascertainable' rule.
Easily ascertainable rule, Keys v Pace, Michigan No-Fault Act, State Farm v Kurylowicz The "easily ascertainable" rule in no-fault law is no more.
My goal in the coming year is to try every single fried-chicken place to ascertain for myself the very best.
Ascertaining customer preference, and delivering on that preference, top concerns for retailers.

In science:

Under the generic definition of galaxy activity we indicate transient phases in the secular evolution of a galaxy during which the various transformations of the baryons undergo a significant enhancement with respect to the average rate, for reasons to be ascertained.
High-Redshift Galaxies: The Far-Infrared and Sub-Millimeter View
This way, the user can ascertain if system’s speech recognition module and natural language understanding module are working correctly, and can repeat any information that the computer misunderstood.
Modeling informational novelty in a conversational system with a hybrid statistical and grammar-based approach to natural language generation
OAIA creates a duplicate of all available data from the source repositories, excluding the set hierarchy (with OAI 1.1, the set hierarchy can only be ascertained through exhaustive querying of each set).
A Scalable Architecture for Harvest-Based Digital Libraries - The ODU/Southampton Experiments
This limit may be ascertained by observing that the dominant terms in the partition function Z (p, q) = Xω∈Ω are those for which k(ω ) is a minimum, that is, those with k(ω ) = 1.
The Random-Cluster Model
The luminosities determined by the present work, not only help in ascertaining the evolutionary status of the sample of stars but can also be used by theorist doing evolutionary calculations in the post red giant evolution, in order to establish the loci of the blue loops for stars of five solar masses and below.
A revised calibration of the Mv-W(OI 7774) relationship using Hipparcos data: Its application to Cepheids and evolved stars