ac·​cul·​tur·​a·​tion | \ ə-ˌkəl-chə-ˈrā-shən How to pronounce acculturation (audio) , a- \

Definition of acculturation

1 : cultural modification of an individual, group, or people by adapting to or borrowing traits from another culture the acculturation of immigrants to American life also : a merging of cultures as a result of prolonged contact
2 : the process by which a human being acquires the culture of a particular society from infancy

Other Words from acculturation

acculturational \ ə-​ˌkəl-​chə-​ˈrā-​shnəl How to pronounce acculturation (audio) , -​shə-​nᵊl , a-​ \ adjective
acculturative \ ə-​ˈkəl-​chə-​ˌrā-​tiv How to pronounce acculturation (audio) , a-​ \ adjective

What is the difference between acculturation, assimilation, and amalgamation?

Acculturation is one of several forms of culture contact, and has a couple of closely related terms, including assimilation and amalgamation. Although all three of these words refer to changes due to contact between different cultures, there are notable differences between them. Acculturation is often tied to political conquest or expansion, and is applied to the process of change in beliefs or traditional practices that occurs when the cultural system of one group displaces that of another. Assimilation refers to the process through which individuals and groups of differing heritages acquire the basic habits, attitudes, and mode of life of an embracing culture. Amalgamation refers to a blending of cultures, rather than one group eliminating another (acculturation) or one group mixing itself into another (assimilation).

Examples of acculturation in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Also in 2013, scholars found that acculturation is negatively associated with depression, anxiety, psychological distress, and sadness. Arthur C. Brooks, The Atlantic, 10 Mar. 2022 Rather than this idea of somebody, through the lens of their own experience and acculturation, not understanding their behavior. Emily Zemler, Los Angeles Times, 15 Oct. 2021 To estimate the level of acculturation, Claritis has developed a Hispanicity CultureCode, that measures the degree people of Hispanic origin retain elements of their Hispanic culture, like language, while acquiring elements of the American culture. Pamela N. Danziger, Forbes, 8 Oct. 2021 People see the same experience somewhat differently from the prism of their own lens and that lens is informed by their history, their acculturation, their cultural norms, their education, their values, their parents, their trauma. Maureen Lee Lenker,, 13 Sep. 2021 Another element to keep in mind is the varying levels of acculturation within Hispanic communities. Isabel Rafferty, Forbes, 28 May 2021 The level of acculturation often depends on how far removed someone is from their family’s country of origin, so immigrants who have recently arrived from Venezuela will have a much lower level of acculturation than third-generation Cuban-Americans. Isabel Rafferty, Forbes, 28 May 2021 While highly relevant to the discussion, this article seeks to stick tightly to acculturation within the context of businesses and organizations. Brad Cousins, Forbes, 5 Apr. 2021 Over two decades of studies have shown that immigrants often learn English from watching TV, and that reduces some of the stress that comes with acculturation, or the process of assimilating into the dominant culture. Amanda Jackson And Scottie Andrew, CNN, 9 Nov. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'acculturation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of acculturation

1880, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for acculturation

ad- + culture entry 1 + -ation

Note: Word introduced by the American soldier, geologist, and explorer John Wesley Powell (1834-1902) in Introduction to the Study of Indian Languages (Smithsonian Institution, 1880), and used by him subsequently in a number of essays.

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Cite this Entry

“Acculturation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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Britannica English: Translation of acculturation for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about acculturation


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