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

Nevada’s ability to seamlessly assimilate the NHL’s Golden Knights into its culture free of scandal offers proof it can be done. David Haugh, chicagotribune.com, "Supreme Court's sports gambling decision opens doors both prosperous and perilous," 14 May 2018 While her partner Vikram and others try to assimilate into their new home, Hel refuses, and works to establish a museum dedicated to their lost home. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "All the science fiction and fantasy books we’re looking forward to in 2019," 30 Dec. 2018 Wine is somewhere on that continuum, somewhere between first being borrowed and then being fully assimilated into our culture. Michael Austin, chicagotribune.com, "For the Fourth, drink American: Syrah, pinot, grenache and a vineyard full of other U.S. wines," 28 June 2018 Catalonia’s identity remained distinct from other regions of Spain, with their separate language and history, but various attempts both to assimilate the region and to grant it independence have ebbed and flowed over the years. Kate Keller, Smithsonian, "Beyond the Headlines, Catalan Culture Has a Long History of Vibrancy and Staying Power," 25 June 2018 The Somali refugees get help from resettling agencies such as Catholic Charities that give them money for the first eight months and assign caseworkers who help them assimilate and find jobs. Abdi Nor Iftin, BostonGlobe.com, "From war-torn Somalia to Maine: An immigrant’s story of hope," 23 May 2018 Now South Asians, along with myriad other groups, have been assimilated into the civil-rights tradition. Jason Willick, WSJ, "Eight Decades of Ethnic Dilemmas," 14 Sep. 2018 Native students’ hair was cut short and they were prohibited from speaking their languages to force them to assimilate to the dominant white culture. Teen Vogue, "New Mexico Teacher Accused of Calling a Native Student a "Bloody Indian" and Cutting Another's Hair on Halloween," 3 Dec. 2018 Crazy Rich Asians shines a light on a related but less explored idea: that people in Asia don’t see American life as worth assimilating to. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "Crazy Rich Asians: 5 things to know about the effervescent rom-com," 10 Aug. 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

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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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