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

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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 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, "They learned English -- and how to be American -- from watching Alex Trebek," 9 Nov. 2020 In order to be part of the political process, Ong pointed out that immigrants have to engage in multiple stages of political acculturation including naturalization, registration, and finally voting. NBC News, "Andrew Yang: Helping Biden win could be Asian American 'political awakening'," 24 Sep. 2020 What this novel is about, even more than acculturation, is observing women. Dwight Garner, New York Times, "In ‘Fiebre Tropical,’ a Colombian Teenager Moves to Miami and Comes of Age," 2 Mar. 2020 That can mean playing down other parts of ourselves, whether by choice or by acculturation. Inkoo Kang, The Hollywood Reporter, "Critic's Notebook: The Liberating Power of the 'Parasite' Oscar Win," 11 Feb. 2020 This acculturation process is a common strategy of schools’ foundation offices. Michael Mccann,, "Billy Napier's New Donation Team Rule for Louisiana Players Raises Questions," 16 Aug. 2019 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.

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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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Time Traveler for acculturation

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The first known use of acculturation was in 1880

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Cite this Entry

“Acculturation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2021.

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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for acculturation

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

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