The clash of lifestyles has made assimilation difficult.
: the state of being assimilated
: the incorporation or conversion of nutrients into protoplasm that in animals follows digestion and absorption and in higher plants involves both photosynthesis and root absorption
phonetics: change of a sound in speech so that it becomes identical with or similar to a neighboring sound
the usual assimilation of \z\ to \sh\ in the phrase his shoe
: the process of receiving new facts or of responding to new situations in conformity with what is already available to consciousness
Did you know?
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).
Did you know?
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 assimilation in a Sentence
Recent Examples on the WebThrough the 20th century, these harsh efforts at assimilation began to erase thousands of generations of Indigenous traditions, wisdom and ceremonies.—Sean Sherman, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1 Nov. 2023 Intended to encourage assimilation, the policy emphasized private ownership over the traditional communal lifestyle of many Native peoples.—Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, 18 Oct. 2023 Ethnic cleansing and genocide, along with forced assimilation, have historically been effective tools in the arsenal of nation-makers.—Ronald Suny, The Conversation, 3 Oct. 2023 Once again, assimilation, to the extent of violent, white supremacy, did not help Tarrio.—Jessica Hoppe, refinery29.com, 26 Sep. 2023 Nguyen has found a distinctive comic vocabulary for addressing the heartbreaking compromises of assimilation.—Sara Holdren, Vulture, 1 Nov. 2023 The Osage started marrying the French back in the 1800s, so there was already this history of assimilation into the white world, which really interested me.—Kate Nelson, Condé Nast Traveler, 20 Oct. 2023 Through policies of assimilation, the U.S. government had almost succeeded in severing the generational flow of the Osage language, creating a moment in 2005 when there were no native speakers.—TIME, 19 Oct. 2023 But the agenda of assimilation, the blueprint of nation-building in the U.S., is at its core anti-Black.—Jessica Hoppe, refinery29.com, 26 Sep. 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'assimilation.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
Middle English assimilacioun "absorption of nutrients," borrowed from Medieval Latin assimilātiōn-, assimilātiō "act of making like, digestion of food, resemblance," going back to Latin assimulātiōn-, assimulātiō "similarity in form, comparison, act of feigning," from assimilāre, assimulāre "to feign, assume the likeness of, cause to resemble, imitate, portray, liken (to)" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of verbal action — more at assimilate entry 1