conflate

verb

con·​flate kən-ˈflāt How to pronounce conflate (audio)
conflated; conflating; conflates

transitive verb

1
a
: to bring together : blend
Even more often, outsiders conflate the couple, and credit them with each other's characteristics.Alison Lurie
This unsettling book—conflating journalism, personal reportage, sociology and philosophical inquiry …Rosemary Mahoney
b
: confuse
Given its name, St. Thomas in Houston has on occasion been conflated with St. Thomas in Minnesota …David Barron
2
: to combine (things, such as two versions of a text) into a composite whole
For there are two substantive texts, the quarto published in 1597 and the folio in 1623. Modern editions usually conflate the pair to produce what the editor judges to be the best and most plausible hybrid.Bill Overton

Did you know?

We’re not just blowing hot air when we tell you that conflate can actually be traced back to the same roots as the English verb blow. Conflate comes from conflatus, a form of the Latin verb conflare (“to blow together, to fuse”), which was formed by combining the prefix com-, meaning “with” or “together,” with the Latin verb flare, meaning “to blow.” Blow’s ancestor, the Old English word blāwan, shares an ancestor with flare. When two or more things are conflated, they are figuratively “blown together” either by someone’s confusion or ingenuity. Other descendants of flare in English include flavor, inflate, and, well, flatulent.

Examples of conflate in a Sentence

be careful not to conflate gossip with real news the movie conflates documentary footage and dramatized reenactments so seamlessly and ingeniously that viewers may not know what is real and what is not
Recent Examples on the Web People don’t usually conflate skincare with agriculture. Sophie Prideaux, Condé Nast Traveler, 6 Feb. 2024 And so, the case for pregnancy as a choice falters — yes, the use of birth control is a personal choice, but that should not be conflated with the notion that pregnancy in itself is a personal choice. Kayla Bartsch, National Review, 1 Feb. 2024 Trump also criticized pro-Palestine protests on U.S. college campuses, conflating the support for Palestinian freedom from Israeli apartheid with support for Hamas, the militant group behind more than 1,400 Israeli deaths. Adrienne Mahsa Varkiani, The New Republic, 18 Oct. 2023 For instance, taking breaks from overwhelming sensory moments should not be conflated with a lack of desire for enduring human connection. TIME, 3 Jan. 2024 Venezuela’s government promoted the referendum for weeks, framing participation as an act of patriotism and often conflating it with a show of support for Mr. Maduro. Regina Garcia Cano and Jorge Rueda, The Christian Science Monitor, 4 Dec. 2023 The families also cautioned against conflating any mental health issues the shooter might have faced with a potential motive of bigotry. Laura Strickler, NBC News, 28 Nov. 2023 Lately, folks on social media have been conflating having boundaries with being controlling. Rachel Wilkerson Miller, SELF, 1 Jan. 2024 One of those, university student Jackie Pham, says the media should stop conflating calls for cease-fire with a call to arms against Jews. Lenora Chu, The Christian Science Monitor, 15 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'conflate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Latin conflatus, past participle of conflare to blow together, fuse, from com- + flare to blow — more at blow

First Known Use

1557, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of conflate was in 1557

Podcast

Dictionary Entries Near conflate

Cite this Entry

“Conflate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/conflate. Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

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