1

assimilate

verb as·sim·i·late \ ə-ˈsi-mə-ˌlāt \
Updated on: 10 Nov 2017

Definition of assimilate

assimilated; assimilating
transitive verb
1 a :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.
2 a :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 3)
intransitive verb
:to be taken in or absorbed :to become assimilated
  • Food assimilates better if taken slowly.
  • —Francis Cutler Marshall

assimilator

play \-ˌlā-tər\ noun

What prepositions are used with assimilate?

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.


Examples of assimilate in a Sentence

  1. Over time, most of the inhabitants of the "Little Italies" … assimilated rapidly to the society … —Stephan ThernstromTimes Literary Supplement26 May 2000
  2. Those groups were eagerly assimilating into the larger culture and rejecting their own cuisine … —Corby KummerNew York Times Book Review16 Aug. 1998
  3. The mistaken attempts to assimilate Lindner's paintings into the Pop Art movement in the 1960s … —Hilton KramerArts & AntiquesJanuary 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.

Recent Examples of assimilate from the Web

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.

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


2

assimilate

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

Definition of assimilate

:something that is assimilated

Recent Examples of assimilate from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of assimilate


ASSIMILATE Defined for English Language Learners

assimilate

verb

Definition of assimilate for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

assimilate

verb as·sim·i·late \ ə-ˈsi-mə-ˌlāt \

Definition of assimilate for Students

assimilated; assimilating
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

Medical Dictionary

1

assimilate

verb as·sim·i·late \ ə-ˈsim-ə-ˌlāt \

medical Definition of assimilate

assimilated; assimilating
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

2

assimilate

noun as·sim·i·late \ -lət, -ˌlāt \

medical Definition of assimilate

:something that is assimilated


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