Trending: assimilation

Lookups spiked 2,240% on January 28, 2019

Why are people looking up assimilation?

Assimilation was among our top lookups on January 28th, after Tom Brokaw, former anchor of NBC news, apologized for stating that this word was something that Hispanics in the United States needed more of.

Tom Brokaw apologizes after saying 'Hispanics should work harder at assimilation’.
— Antonia Noori Farzan, (headline) The Washington Post, 28 Jan. 2019

What does assimilation mean?

Assimilation, in the context above, is defined as “ an act, process, or instance of assimilating”; the relevant sense of assimilate here is “to absorb into the cultural tradition of a population or group.”

What is notable about this use of assimilation?

Assimilation is often used to describe forms of cultural contact, along with acculturation and amalgamation. Acculturation often entails political conquest or expansion, and assimilation tends to be used to describe the process of change in beliefs or traditional practices that occurs when the cultural system of one group displaces that of another. Amalgamation differs from these two insofar as it entails a blending of cultures, rather than one group being eliminated or subsumed by the other.


The assimilation is faultie by reason of colde; this causeth that morphewe, which ofte staineth melancholicke bodies, and bespeckleth their skinne here and there with blacke staines of this humour.
— Timothie Bright, A Treatise of Melancholie, 1586

Trend Watch is a data-driven report on words people are looking up at much higher search rates than normal. While most trends can be traced back to the news or popular culture, our focus is on the lookup data rather than the events themselves.

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