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a useful and desirable thing or quality:
Organizational ability is an asset.
a single item of ownership having exchange value.

items of ownership convertible into cash; total resources of a person or business, as cash, notes and accounts receivable, securities, inventories, goodwill, fixtures, machinery, or real estate (opposed to ).
Accounting. the items detailed on a balance sheet, especially in relation to liabilities and capital.
all property available for the payment of debts, especially of a bankrupt or insolvent firm or person.
Law. property in the hands of an heir, executor, or administrator, that is sufficient to pay the debts or legacies of a deceased person.

Contemporary Examples

EnerNOC in turn pays users—which it calls “assets”—to curtail power usage during peak-demand events such as a heat wave.
EnerNOC Helps Keeps Lights on During Heat Waves Through Demand Response Edward Ferguson July 19, 2013

Federal Reserve rules require that assets be constantly revalued to their fluctuating market value.
America’s Irrational Lurch to the Left Conrad Black November 3, 2008

The Federal Reserve, for example, has $3.4 trillion in assets, at last count.
Debt-Limit Disaster Is Exponentially Worse Than 2008 Lehman Debacle Daniel Gross October 7, 2013

In theory, it is possible to move or protect these assets, but doing so will be neither quick nor cheap.
The End of the Arctic? Ocean Could be Ice Free by 2015 Mark Hertsgaard December 12, 2013

Our position is,” said Sorkin, “that he provided the government with all the information he had about all of his assets.
Bernie: I Won’t Appeal Allan Dodds Frank July 7, 2009

Historical Examples

The assets were twenty-five cradles and an oil painting by an unknown master.
The Red Room August Strindberg

The copies of our reports are assets and should be realized on.
Northern Nut Growers Association Report of the Proceedings at the Fifth Annual Meeting Various

But this was no business of my own; and the will was proved, and assets called in; for the old rogue did not owe one penny.
Cripps, the Carrier R. D. (Richard Doddridge) Blackmore

Many a watch venture has gone on the rocks for the lack of these assets.
Christopher and the Clockmakers Sara Ware Bassett

It used to be one of her assets, but there’s a thin note in it now which betrays her age.
The Lure of Old London Sophie Cole

plural noun
(accounting) the property and claims against debtors that a business enterprise may apply to discharge its liabilities. Assets may be fixed, current, liquid, or intangible and are shown balanced against liabilities Compare liabilities
(law) the property available to an executor or administrator for settlement of the debts and payment of legacies of the estate of a deceased or insolvent person
any property owned by a person or firm
anything valuable or useful: experience is their main asset See also assets

1530s, “sufficient estate,” from Anglo-French asetz (singular), from Old French assez (11c.) “sufficiency, satisfaction; compensation,” noun use of adverb meaning “enough, sufficiently; very much, a great deal,” from Vulgar Latin *ad satis “to sufficiency,” from Latin ad- “to” (see ad-) + satis “enough” (see sad).

Beginning as a legal term, “sufficient estate” (to satisfy debts and legacies), it passed into general use; meaning “any property that theoretically can be converted to ready money” is from 1580s. Asset is a 19c. artificial singular. Asset stripping attested from 1972.

see assets.

A possession that can be turned into cash to cover liabilities.

Note: Commonly, the term denotes anything of value.


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