assimilation

noun
as·​sim·​i·​la·​tion | \ ə-ˌsi-mə-ˈlā-shən How to pronounce assimilation (audio) \

Definition of assimilation

1a : an act, process, or instance of assimilating The clash of lifestyles has made assimilation difficult.
b : the state of being assimilated
2 : 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
3 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
4 : the process of receiving new facts or of responding to new situations in conformity with what is already available to consciousness

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).

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 assimilation in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This dignified landmark of struggle, aspiration, assimilation, and ethnic pride is a quintessentially American monument to the immigrant experience. Martin Filler, The New York Review of Books, 7 Sep. 2022 So Lockheed has recently entered into a series of partnerships with companies like Intel INTC +0.8%, Nvidia and Verizon to hasten the assimilation of technologies like 5G into its products. Loren Thompson, Forbes, 6 June 2022 The world has seen the dark side of China’s surveillance project in the remote northwestern region of Xinjiang, where authorities have carried out a multiyear campaign of forcible assimilation targeting Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslim groups. Josh Chin, WSJ, 2 Sep. 2022 In 2016, Tsai issued the first official apology to Indigenous groups for centuries of mistreatment, including the seizure of ancestral lands and assimilation policies that banned Indigenous languages and traditions. Washington Post, 4 Apr. 2022 Both men went to college, but Leaphorn returned home, while Chee, his eyes opened and his assimilation well underway, needed to be summoned back. Daniel D'addario, Variety, 8 June 2022 While there are many Iranians who welcome, assist and employ Afghans, the undocumented majority face many challenges and hurdles for assimilation. New York Times, 28 Apr. 2022 Despite this growth, the preservation of Montagnard culture has become harder over the years, in part because of assimilation. Elyse Weingarten, NBC News, 13 Aug. 2022 The chile typically used in piri-piri sauce is the African bird’s eye, a potent pepper with a complicated history of migration, colonization and assimilation. Tim Carman, Washington Post, 1 Aug. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'assimilation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of assimilation

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for assimilation

see assimilate entry 1

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Time Traveler for assimilation

Time Traveler

The first known use of assimilation was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near assimilation

assimilate

assimilation

assimilationist

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Statistics for assimilation

Last Updated

21 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Assimilation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/assimilation. Accessed 1 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for assimilation

assimilation

noun
as·​sim·​i·​la·​tion | \ ə-ˌsi-mə-ˈlā-shən How to pronounce assimilation (audio) \

Kids Definition of assimilation

: the act or process of assimilating

assimilation

noun
as·​sim·​i·​la·​tion | \ ə-ˌsim-ə-ˈlā-shən How to pronounce assimilation (audio) \

Medical Definition of assimilation

1a : an act, process, or instance of assimilating
b : the state of being assimilated
2 : 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
3 : the process of receiving new facts or of responding to new situations in conformity with what is already available to consciousness — compare apperception

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