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verb as·sim·i·late \ə-ˈsi-mə-ˌlāt\

Simple Definition of assimilate

  • : to learn (something) so that it is fully understood and can be used

  • : to cause (a person or group) to become part of a different society, country, etc.

  • : to adopt the ways of another culture : to fully become part of a different society, country, etc.

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of assimilate



  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 a :  to take in and utilize as nourishment :  absorb into the system b :  to take into the mind and thoroughly comprehend

  3. 2 a :  to make similar b :  to alter by assimilation c :  to absorb into the culture or mores of a population or group

  4. 3 :  compare, liken

  5. intransitive verb
  6. :  to be taken in or absorbed :  to become assimilated


play \-ˌlā-tər\ noun

Usage Discussion of assimilate

When assimilate is followed by a preposition, transitive senses 2a and 2c commonly take to and into and less frequently with; 2b regularly takes to; sense 3 most often takes to and sometimes with. The most frequent prepositions used with the intransitive sense are to and into.

Examples of assimilate in a sentence

  1. Over time, most of the inhabitants of the “Little Italies” … assimilated rapidly to the society … —Stephan Thernstrom, Times Literary Supplement, 26 May 2000

  2. Those groups were eagerly assimilating into the larger culture and rejecting their own cuisine … —Corby Kummer, New York Times Book Review, 16 Aug. 1998

  3. The mistaken attempts to assimilate Lindner's paintings into the Pop Art movement in the 1960s … —Hilton Kramer, Arts & Antiques, January 1997

  4. Children need to assimilate new ideas.

  5. There was a lot of information to assimilate at school.

  6. Schools were used to assimilate the children of immigrants.

  7. They found it hard to assimilate to American society.

  8. Many of these religious traditions have been assimilated into the culture.

Linguistic assimilation?

There are a handful of words in English that are examples of themselves, representatives of the very things that they describe. One such word is sesquipedalian ("having many syllables" or "characterized by the use of long words"). Another example, in a slightly less obvious fashion, is assimilate. When used as a technical word to describe a certain process of language change, assimilate refers to the habit that some sounds have of becoming more like the sounds that are close to them in a word (see assimilation, sense 3). For instance, the original spelling of immovable in English was inmovable, and over time the n began to sound more like its neighboring m, to the point that it actually became that letter.

Something similar occurred before assimilate was a word in English. Assimilate comes from the Latin prefix ad- (meaning "to, towards") and similis ("similar"). Over time the d of the prefix ad- assimilated itself with the s of similis.

Origin and Etymology of assimilate

Middle English, from Medieval Latin assimilatus, past participle of assimilare, from Latin assimulare to make similar, from ad- + simulare to make similar, simulate

First Known Use: 15th century

Rhymes with assimilate

abbreviate, abominate, accelerate, accentuate, accommodate, acculturate, accumulate, adjudicate, adulterate, affiliate, agglomerate, alienate, alleviate, alliterate, amalgamate, ameliorate, amyl nitrate, annihilate, annunciate, anticipate, apostolate, appreciate, appropriate, approximate, arpeggiate, articulate, asphyxiate, assassinate, asseverate, associate, at any rate, attenuate, authenticate, barbiturate, bicarbonate, calumniate, capacitate, capitulate, catholicate, certificate, coagulate, coelenterate, collaborate, commemorate, commiserate, communicate, compassionate, concatenate, conciliate, confabulate, confederate, conglomerate, congratulate, consolidate, contaminate, cooperate, coordinate, corroborate, deactivate, debilitate, decapitate, decelerate, decerebrate, deconcentrate, deconsecrate, decorticate, decrepitate, de-escalate, defibrinate, defoliate, degenerate, deliberate, delineate, demodulate, denominate, depopulate, depreciate, deracinate, deregulate, desegregate, desiderate, detoxicate, devaluate, diaconate, dilapidate, discriminate, disintegrate, disseminate, dissimulate, dissociate, domesticate, effectuate, ejaculate, elaborate, electroplate, eliminate, elucidate, emaciate, emancipate, emasculate, encapsulate, enumerate, enunciate, episcopate, equivocate, eradicate, etiolate, evacuate, evaluate, evaporate, eventuate, eviscerate, exacerbate, exaggerate, exasperate, excited state, excogitate, excoriate, exfoliate, exhilarate, exonerate, expatiate, expatriate, expectorate, expostulate, expropriate, extenuate, exterminate, extrapolate, facilitate, felicitate, fish or cut bait, garrison state, gesticulate, habilitate, habituate, hallucinate, humiliate, hydrogenate, hypothecate, illuminate, impersonate, inactivate, inaugurate, incarcerate, incinerate, incorporate, incriminate, indoctrinate, inebriate, infatuate, infuriate, ingratiate, ingurgitate, initiate, inoculate, inseminate, insinuate, instantiate, intercalate, interpolate, interrelate, interrogate, intimidate, intoxicate, invalidate, investigate, invigorate, irradiate, Italianate, Korea Strait, lanceolate, legitimate, luxuriate, mandarinate, manipulate, matriarchate, matriculate, Merthiolate, necessitate, negotiate, noncandidate, obliterate, officiate, Orange Free State, orientate, originate, oxygenate, participate, particulate, patriarchate, patriciate, perambulate, peregrinate, perpetuate, pontificate, precipitate, predestinate, predominate, prefabricate, premeditate, preponderate, prevaricate, procrastinate, prognosticate, proliferate, propitiate, proportionate, quadruplicate, quintuplicate, reciprocate, recriminate, recuperate, redecorate, reduplicate, reeducate, refrigerate, regenerate, regurgitate, reincarnate, reintegrate, reiterate, rejuvenate, remunerate, repatriate, repudiate, resuscitate, retaliate, reticulate, revaluate, reverberate, scholasticate, second estate, self-flagellate, self-immolate, self-pollinate, seventy-eight, sextuplicate, Singapore Strait, sophisticate, subordinate, substantiate, syllabicate, tergiversate, transliterate, triangulate, vanity plate, variegate, vaticinate, vituperate, vociferate



noun as·sim·i·late \ə-ˈsi-mə-lət, -ˌlāt\

Definition of assimilate

  1. :  something that is assimilated (see 1assimilate)

Origin and Etymology of assimilate

(see 1assimilate)

First Known Use: 1935

ASSIMILATE Defined for Kids


verb as·sim·i·late \ə-ˈsi-mə-ˌlāt\

Definition of assimilate for Students



  1. 1 :  to become or cause to become part of a different group or country <She was completely assimilated into her new country.>

  2. 2 :  to take in and make part of a larger thing <The body assimilates nutrients in food.>

  3. 3 :  to learn thoroughly <assimilate new ideas>

Medical Dictionary



verb as·sim·i·late \ə-ˈsim-ə-ˌlāt\

Medical Definition of assimilate




  1. 1

  2. transitive verb

  3. :  to take in and utilize as nourishment :  absorb into the system

  4. 2:  to absorb into the cultural tradition of a population or group <the community assimilated many immigrants>

  5. 1

  6. intransitive verb

  7. :  to become absorbed or incorporated into the system <some foods assimilate more readily than others>

  8. 2:  to become culturally assimilated



noun as·sim·i·late \-lət, -ˌlāt\

Medical Definition of assimilate

  1. :  something that is assimilated

Seen and Heard

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