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, -shē- \ intransitive verb
free-associative \-sē-ˌā-tiv, -shē-ˌā- -shə-tiv \ adjective

Examples of free association in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

But the process for both of them was certainly based on the concept of free association. Sarah Medford, WSJ, "Growing Up With Helen Frankenthaler on Cape Cod," 30 May 2018 While the pair’s first collaboration of graphic tees took on the Jean Clemmer photographers and book titles, the second is more of a free association of ideas surrounding Dossena’s Spring collection theme. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "These Are Not Your Average Graphic Tees: Julien Dossena and Peter Saville Talk About Their New Paco Rabanne Collaboration," 23 May 2018 Exploring is something that breaks the bounds of time and space and permits us free associations, perhaps with similar events in the past, perhaps with choice-worthy events in the future. Martin Seligman, BostonGlobe.com, "When the brain is off to sleep — but hard at work," 22 Mar. 2018 The lawsuit, filed by the Operating Engineers of Wisconsin Local 139 and Local 420, argues that Act 10 violates free speech and free association under the First Amendment. Sarah Hauer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin labor unions file lawsuit over Act 10, saying it violates free speech," 24 Feb. 2018 May wrote that the city did not retaliate against Cochran in violation of his rights to free speech or free association. Washington Post, "Judge: Rules cited in fire chief’s firing not constitutional," 20 Dec. 2017 For example, Harvard is under Title IX investigation and felt compelled to curb the right of students to free association in clubs. WSJ, "Title IX and the Subversion of Human Rights," 14 Sep. 2017 The firm argued in its court filing that the release of the financial records would reveal the names of its clients and therefore violate its and their First Amendment rights to free speech and free association. Katelyn Polantz, CNN, "Fusion GPS, House intelligence panel reach agreement on subpoena," 28 Oct. 2017 In any other context, this discrimination would clearly run afoul of the First Amendment’s guarantees of free association and expression. Mark Joseph Stern, Slate Magazine, "Is Anthony Kennedy Ready to Put an End to Partisan Gerrymandering?," 23 May 2017

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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The first known use of free association was in 1925

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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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