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Assent: express approval or agreement, typically officially.

  • It is immaterial whether a man gives his assent by words or by acts and deeds. 10 Co. 52.
Non refert an quis assensum suum praefert verbis, an rebus ipsis et factis.
  • He who does not forbid what he can forbid, seems to assent. 2 Inst. 305.
Qui non prohibit quod prohibere potest assentire videtur.
  • No one is obliged to accept a benefit against his consent. Dig. 50, 17, 69. But if he does not dissent he will be considered as assenting. Vide Assent.
Invito beneficium non datur

Assent is the agreement of someone not able to give legal consent to participate in an activity. Working with children or adults not capable of giving consent requires the consent of the parent or legal guardian and the assent of the subject.

What is the difference between assent and consent?

To consent is to give permission, which could have been withheld. It implies a power relationship where the consent is granted by the party with more power.

There is the political theory that says governments can rule only with the consent of the governed. That is, the people consent to be governed and thus grant their power to the government.

To assent is to agree with a statement made by an equal. On the Supreme Court, one justice writes the opinion of the majority, to which other majority justices assent. Those that disagree are said to dissent, that is to disagree.

So, consent = permission while assent = agreement. A subtle distinction perhaps, but a useful one.

Assent and consent are mostly synonymous — they both mean to agree or to give permission — but assent connotes a greater degree of enthusiasm, and consent often comes with reluctance. In law and government, consent is more readily denied, while assent is often a mere formality.

Ascent vs. Assent vs. Consent The homonyms “ascent” and “assent” have very different meanings.

Ascent is the noun form of the verb “to ascend,” which means to climb or rise upward. Thus, an ascent is an upward slope or incline, or the act of rising to a higher level.

Both of the words “assent” and “consent” involve agreement, but there is a subtle difference between the two such that they cannot be used interchangeably. While “assent” traditionally denotes concurrence of opinion, “consent” implies a granting of permission or approving a proposed action.

Webster’s Ninth dictionary says:

“Assent implies an act involving the understanding or judgment and applies to propositions or opinions; consent involves the will or feelings and indicates compliance with what is requested or desired.”

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