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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from acculturation

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

But a move to Texas cuts short this acculturation—at his new high school, the black kids mock his clothes. Julian Lucas, Harper's magazine, "New Books," 22 July 2019 The Jewish camping movement is a hybrid outgrowth of a slew of Jewish cultural projects: urban social and moral reform, Zionist education, denominational training, and the general acculturation to American-style leisure. Jamie Lauren Keiles, Vox, "How the JAP became America’s most complex Jewish stereotype.," 5 Dec. 2018

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.

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about acculturation

Statistics for acculturation

Last Updated

7 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for acculturation

The first known use of acculturation was in 1880

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on acculturation

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with acculturation

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

Comments on acculturation

What made you want to look up acculturation? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


of or relating to the heavens

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!