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 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 In other words, some groups have a right to free association but others don’t. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 10 Mar. 2021 The measure allows military troops to be deployed to penitentiaries, and limits inmates' rights to privacy and free association in order to allow searches and other surveillance measures. Philip Wang And Stefano Pozzebon, CNN, 2 Oct. 2021 To cover such a broad swathe of recent history, much of which has been rehashed in other documentaries and media, Lee applies a spirited free association. BostonGlobe.com, 19 Aug. 2021 Crosswords tug all sides of your mind, requiring you to dart from straightforward definitions to narrative logic to free association to bad dad puns, all in the same space. Jerry Weissman, Forbes, 18 Sep. 2021 The Federated States of Micronesia enjoys close relations with the U.S. under a compact of free association. Arkansas Online, 2 Sep. 2021 Micronesia enjoys close relations with the U.S. under a compact of free association. Nick Perry, ajc, 1 Sep. 2021 Instead, conservatives should be standing up for the Constitution and its fundamental rights of free speech and free association. Iain Murray, National Review, 24 Aug. 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near free association

free as a bird

free association

free astray

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Cite this Entry

“Free association.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/free%20association. Accessed 24 Jan. 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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