The Ascent of Mount Everest is a treacherous and dangerous journey not all mountaineers can embark on. Despite a high death toll, mountaineers do not need the government to assent to their fitness or experience before climbing the dangerous rock.

The words ‘ascent’ and ‘assent’ are homophones to the hilt; they sound exactly the same. These words also differ by a single substituted letter, making them orthographic neighbors. Needless to say, this can create some confusion and can be embarrassing considering the stark difference in their meaning and usage.

‘Ascent’ refers to the act, way, or nature of something’s rise. It can be used to describe the act of ascending, both literally and figuratively. Assent, however, means to agree or approve. Fortunately, these words are spelled differently which can help you remember which is which. Follow this article to the end to read more about the pronunciation, etymology, definition, and uses of these words!

Ascent vs assent – definition, uses, and example sentences

Definition of ascent

‘Ascent’ is pronounced ‘uh-sent’. It is a noun and can be used in a range of meanings. ‘Ascent’ is based and modeled on the English verb ‘ascend’ meaning ‘to climb’.

It can be defined as the act of ascending or climbing something, like a mountain, cliff, or any elevation, and usually has an action verb, like ‘make’, following it. For instance, the moon made its typical ascent over the horizon. It can also be used to refer to the way or method of ascending or climbing and usually lacks an action verb behind it. For instance, the moon’s ascent is a projection of its motion around the Earth. ‘Ascent’ can also refer to any visibly high point, eminence or peak, for example of a mountain. For instance, his silhouette was visible on the cliff’s ascent. The gain in commercial popularity or increase in success and prosperity of someone or something is also referred to as their/its ‘ascent’.

Nouns synonymous with ‘ascent’ include ‘climb’, ‘trek’, ‘peak’, and ‘rise’.

Example sentences of ascent

  • The first-ever ascent of the Himalayan giant K-2 was made in 1954 by Italian mountaineers Lino Lancedelli and Achille Campagnoni.

In the first sentence, the noun ‘ascent’ is used as the subject of the passive sentence in the meaning of ‘the act of climbing or ascending’. The first mountaineers to climb the famous K2 of the Himalayan Range were Lino Lancedelli and Achille Campagnoni who made it to its peak on July 31st, 1954.

  • The moon’s apparent increase in size during its ascent as seen from the Earth is an optical illusion called the Ponzi Illusion.

Here, ‘ascent’ is used in its second meaning, referring to the way or journey of the ascending moon. The sentence states a very peculiar fact about the moon; an illusion is casted when it rises because it appears bigger to the spectator.

  • Hollywood superstar and heartthrob Brad Pitt’s cinematic ascent began with his enchanting role in the 1994 war-drama ‘Legends of the Fall’.

In the last sentence, ‘ascent’ is used in the figurative sense of a rise in popularity or an increase in vogue or acknowledgment. Hollywood’s renowned star Brad Pitt saw a steep increase in his career after shooting his epic drama ‘Legends of the Fall’.

Definition of assent

‘Assent’ is also pronounced ‘uh-sent’. However, it can be used as both a verb and a noun. It is derived from the Latin word ‘ad-sentire’ meaning ‘to feel or think towards’ something.

As a verb, ‘assent’ can have two separate meanings. It can be defined as agreeing to something or giving something one’s approval. For instance, I assent to have my car searched. Similarly, it can also be defined as affirming or acknowledging something as the truth. For instance, I assent to having said that. The noun form of the word ‘assent’ refers to the act of giving approval or having agreement.

The verbs ‘sanction’ and ‘approve’ are synonymous with the first definition of the ‘assent’ whereas ‘affirm’ ‘confirm’ and ‘endorse’ are synonyms in the latter sense.

Example sentences of assent

  • As the rain fell and the flood destroyed public property and gutter lines, lawmakers finally assented to investigate corruption and kickbacks among the infrastructure contractors.

In the first sentence, ‘assent’ is used as a verb using the first meaning of ‘agreeing or approving’. When floods eroded infrastructure and private houses the lawmakers finally agreed to investigate instances of corruption among the infrastructure contractors.

  • When he confronted his girlfriend about her lies and deception, she assented to cheating on him, saying that she did it on purpose.

Here, ‘assent’ is used as a verb in the past participle form using the second meaning of ‘admitting or affirming the truth’. When the boy asked his girlfriend about her deception she agreed she had cheated on him.

  • The U.S Congress gave its assent to invade Afghanistan after the Taliban denied handing over the alleged mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks, Osama bin Laden.

In the last sentence, ‘assent’ is used in the noun form to refer to the act of approving or sanctioning something. The U.S Congress gave its agreement to attack Afghanistan after Taliban refused to hand over Osama bin Laden.


In summary, ‘ascent’ and ‘assent’ sound exactly alike and differ in their spelling by a single letter. ‘Ascent’ is a noun that has to do with a literal or figurative rise. It is easy enough to see that ‘ascent’ is similar to the verb ‘ascend’, on which it is based. On the other hand, ‘assent’ means to agree to or affirm something. Note that ‘assent’ rhymes with ‘consent’ which also has a similar meaning. We hope that this article has been helpful and we fully assent that you tell your friends about these memory tricks!