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

Other Words from free association

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

Examples of free association in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web If no supermajority is achieved, Congress must initiate a transition to either free association or independence—whichever garnered most votes in the second question. Alberto C. Medina, The New Republic, 20 July 2022 Marty Walsh issued a joint announcement Monday on the U.S. request to review whether workers at the plant in Frontera in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila were being denied their free association and collective bargaining rights. Eric D. Lawrence, Detroit Free Press, 7 June 2022 Groups created through free association—not individuals—applied for loans. Jaron Lanier, The Atlantic, 26 May 2022 In this approach, a platform would require users to form groups through free association, and then to post only through those groups, with the group’s imprimatur. Jaron Lanier, The Atlantic, 26 May 2022 Voters would instead choose between three options: statehood, sovereignty in free association with the U.S., and independence. Lilia Luciano And Cristina Corujo, CBS News, 23 May 2022 Considering these activists’ record of successfully convincing corporations to do their bidding on a host of issues, everyone who supports the American traditions of free speech, free association and privacy should be concerned. Jeremy D. Tedesco, WSJ, 18 Jan. 2022 Bella’s adult son, Peter (played by Reed Birney, Albert’s uncle), turns up—and, as if in free association with his name, morphs into a wolf. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 16 Feb. 2022 On the legal front, fundamental rights to free association, free press and free speech have left courts cautious to intervene. Nicole Hemmer, CNN, 19 Nov. 2021 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near free association

free as a bird

free association

free astray

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Statistics for free association

Last Updated

27 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Free association.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/free%20association. Accessed 11 Aug. 2022.

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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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