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
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).
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 assimilation
First Known Use: 15th century
ASSIMILATION Defined for Kids
Definition of assimilation for Students
: the act or process of assimilating
Medical Definition of assimilation
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
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up assimilation? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).