free association

noun

Definition of free association

1a : the expression (as by speaking or writing) of the content of consciousness without censorship as an aid in gaining access to unconscious processes especially in psychoanalysis
b : the reporting of the first thought that comes to mind in response to a given stimulus (such as a word)
2 : an idea or image elicited by free association
3 : a method using free association

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Other Words from free association

free-associate \ ˌfrē-​ə-​ˈsō-​sē-​ˌāt How to pronounce free-associate (audio) , -​shē-​ \ intransitive verb
free-associative \ -​sē-​ˌā-​tiv How to pronounce free-associative (audio) , -​shē-​ˌā-​ -​shə-​tiv \ adjective

Examples of free association in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The gamechanger for me was a free association writing exercise. Amy Dickinson, Detroit Free Press, "New husband wrestles with old problems," 29 Apr. 2020 The cases argue that denying the funds to U.S. citizens because their spouses lack Social Security numbers violates the constitutional rights to free association, due process and equal protection inherent in the Constitution. Caitlin Dickerson, New York Times, "Married to an Undocumented Immigrant? You May Not Get a Stimulus Check.," 28 Apr. 2020 Specifically, researchers have found, a strong alliance will help the therapist and patient reach consensus on their goals, as well as on what sort of tasks — such as free association, Socratic questioning, or homework — will help achieve them. TheWeek, "Talk therapy works — but how?," 2 May 2020 Challenges to mask bans on the grounds of free speech and free association have mostly failed in American courts. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "Coronavirus pits anti-mask laws against public health," 15 Apr. 2020 In that space, a sofa was never just a sofa, but an occasion for free association, a cue to unconscious thoughts and deeper feelings. Penelope Green, New York Times, "You Show Me Your Décor, I Show You Mine," 31 Mar. 2020 The Federated States of Micronesia, located about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to Indonesia, has close ties with the U.S. under a compact of free association and the U.S. dollar is its primary currency. San Diego Union-Tribune, "American prosecutor slain in Pacific nation of Micronesia," 15 Oct. 2019 His primary areas of focus include the cultural impact of technology, digital free speech and free association, and barriers to innovation specifically in competition policy, data, health care and transportation. Washington Post Staff, Washington Post, "The Tech 202 Network:\," 9 Mar. 2020 The Federated States of Micronesia, located about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to Indonesia, has close ties with the U.S. under a compact of free association and the U.S. dollar is its primary currency. San Diego Union-Tribune, "American prosecutor slain in Pacific nation of Micronesia," 15 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'free association.' 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 free association

1925, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for free association

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The first known use of free association was in 1925

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Statistics for free association

Last Updated

31 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Free association.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/free%20association. Accessed 7 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for free association

free association

noun

Medical Definition of free association

1a : the expression (as by speaking or writing) of the content of consciousness without censorship as an aid in gaining access to unconscious processes especially in psychoanalysis
b : the reporting of the first thought that comes to mind in response to a given stimulus (as a word)
2 : an idea or image elicited by free association
3 : a method using free association

More from Merriam-Webster on free association

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about free association

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