assimilate

verb
as·​sim·​i·​late | \ ə-ˈsi-mə-ˌlāt How to pronounce assimilate (audio) \
assimilated; assimilating

Definition of assimilate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to take into the mind and thoroughly understand assimilate information Students need to assimilate new concepts.
b : to take in and utilize as nourishment : to absorb into the system The body assimilates digested food.
2a : to absorb into the cultural tradition of a population or group … the belief that tolerant hosts would be able to assimilate immigrants of whatever creed or colour.— Brian Holmes
b : to make similar … the only faculty that seems to assimilate man to the immortal gods.— Joseph Conrad
c phonetics : to alter by the process of assimilation (see assimilation sense 3)
3 : compare, liken

intransitive verb

: to be taken in or absorbed : to become assimilated Food assimilates better if taken slowly.— Francis Cutler Marshall

assimilate

noun
as·​sim·​i·​late | \ ə-ˈsi-mə-lət How to pronounce assimilate (audio) , -ˌlāt\

Definition of assimilate (Entry 2 of 2)

: something that is assimilated

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Other Words from assimilate

Verb

assimilator \ -​ˌlā-​tər How to pronounce assimilator (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for assimilate

Synonyms: Verb

analogize, bracket, compare, equate, liken

Antonyms: Verb

contrast

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What prepositions are used with assimilate?: Usage Guide

Verb

When assimilate is followed by a preposition, transitive senses 2a and 2b commonly take to and into and less frequently with; sense 2c 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.

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.

Examples of assimilate in a Sentence

Verb

Over time, most of the inhabitants of the "Little Italies" … assimilated rapidly to the society … — Stephan Thernstrom, Times Literary Supplement, 26 May 2000 Those groups were eagerly assimilating into the larger culture and rejecting their own cuisine … — Corby Kummer, New York Times Book Review, 16 Aug. 1998 The mistaken attempts to assimilate Lindner's paintings into the Pop Art movement in the 1960s … — Hilton Kramer, Arts & Antiques, January 1997 Children need to assimilate new ideas. There was a lot of information to assimilate at school. Schools were used to assimilate the children of immigrants. They found it hard to assimilate to American society. Many of these religious traditions have been assimilated into the culture.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Today, some Ford employees complain Farley refuses to assimilate to the company culture. Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press, "A man who can build a car by hand leads Ford into future; 'He’s just never afraid'," 19 June 2019 Two seasons ago, Wilson swung a trade-deadline deal for Evander Kane, with the full intent on assimilating him to the team’s culture and then trying to re-sign him in the offseason. Dieter Kurtenbach, The Mercury News, "Kurtenbach: What Erik Karlsson’s mega contract means for the Sharks," 17 June 2019 However, plenty of the last century’s works have been successfully assimilated into classical music programs. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: Rare works shine in La Jolla Symphony & Chorus’ season-closing concert," 11 June 2019 For second-generation immigrants, an ambition to assimilate and an ambivalence about that ambition are opposing forces that both define and compromise our sense of self. Jiayang Fan, The New Yorker, "What “Always Be My Maybe” Gets About Making an Asian-American Rom-Com," 4 June 2019 Andy McKay, the Mariners' director of player development, estimated that 90 percent of the major leagues' education resources are geared toward assimilating Latin American players. Jesse Dougherty, courant.com, "MLB, long expecting Latin players to learn English, is finally beginning to speak their language," 4 June 2019 In that movie, researchers in Antarctica are plagued by a parasitic being that's able to assimilate into/imitate other humans — is this a hint that some of the people in Hawkins are going to turn out to be Upside-Downers in disguise? Marisa Lascala, Good Housekeeping, "'Stranger Things 3' Promises to Be Funny, Harrowing, and Full of '80s References," 24 May 2019 Early evidence hints that bdelloids could also assimilate DNA from other members of their own species. Quanta Magazine, "Ancient Survivors Could Redefine Sex," 19 Nov. 2014 Authorities want to prevent Rohingya from assimilating into the local population. Mayesha Alam, Washington Post, "How the Rohingya crisis is affecting Bangladesh — and why it matters," 12 Feb. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

According to Sessions, a good immigrant assimilates. Jeneé Osterheldt, kansascity, "This immigrant now lives the American Dream: Do you have a problem with that?," 6 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'assimilate.' 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 assimilate

Verb

1671, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1b

Noun

1935, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for assimilate

Verb and Noun

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

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Statistics for assimilate

Last Updated

5 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for assimilate

The first known use of assimilate was in 1671

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More Definitions for assimilate

assimilate

verb

English Language Learners 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.

assimilate

verb
as·​sim·​i·​late | \ ə-ˈsi-mə-ˌlāt How to pronounce assimilate (audio) \
assimilated; assimilating

Kids Definition of assimilate

1 : to become or cause to become part of a different group or country She was completely assimilated into her new country.
2 : to take in and make part of a larger thing The body assimilates nutrients in food.
3 : to learn thoroughly assimilate new ideas

assimilate

verb
as·​sim·​i·​late | \ ə-ˈsim-ə-ˌlāt How to pronounce assimilate (audio) \
assimilated; assimilating

Medical Definition of assimilate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to take in and utilize as nourishment : absorb into the system
2 : to absorb into the cultural tradition of a population or group the community assimilated many immigrants

intransitive verb

1 : to become absorbed or incorporated into the system some foods assimilate more readily than others
2 : to become culturally assimilated

assimilate

noun
as·​sim·​i·​late | \ -lət, -ˌlāt How to pronounce assimilate (audio) \

Medical Definition of assimilate (Entry 2 of 2)

: something that is assimilated

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