Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Of, characterized by, resulting from, or causing association.
  • adj. Mathematics Independent of the grouping of elements. For example, if a + (b + c) = (a + b) + c, the operation indicated by + is associative.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Pertaining to, resulting from, or characterised by association; capable of associating; tending to associate or unite.
  • adj. such that, for any operands ,
  • adj. addressable by a key more complex than an integer index

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Having the quality of associating; tending or leading to association.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Pertaining to or resulting from association; capable of associating; tending to associate or unite; characterized by association: as, “the associative faculty,”
  • In mathematics, applied to an operation which gives the same result whether it first unites two quantities A and B, and then unites the result to a third quantity C, or whether it first unites B and C, and then unites the result to A, the order of the quantities being preserved.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. characterized by or causing or resulting from the process of bringing ideas or events together in memory or imagination

Etymologies

From associate +‎ -ive. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • In the rat cortex, long-term associative memories vanished rapidly after local application of an inhibitor of the protein kinase C isoform, protein kinase M zeta PKMzeta.

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  • Sometimes they centered themselves in the present moment, which is called associative thinking.

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  • It is as if what are sometimes called the associative fibers, both ends of which are in the brain, were dwarfed in comparison with the afferent and efferent fibers that mediate sense and motion.

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  • The babblings and squigglings may be pretty or ugly, may carry certain associative meanings, (I think “e” is sort of … endearingly cute as a visual figurae, in its smiley muppetyness,) but these figurae are mostly just jabber and daubings until they’re built-up into morphemes, the smallest units that can have meaning.

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  • If the parenthesis-free notation is tolerated in general logical exposition, this is because ˆ¨ is associative, that is, the wffs

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  • Number one is, What were my first impressions of the idea of associative life; that is, did the idea strike me pleasantly or not?

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  • That reaction, called associative detachment, allowed clouds in the universe to cool, condense and form the first stars.

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  • Vannevar Bush and Ted Nelson would later voice strikingly similar ideas about the notion of associative "trails" between documents.

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  • The allusive, tangential nature of Keillor's ideas, and the idea of the film as a journey, recall the associative meanderings of the author WG Sebald.

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  • He found that to crack the game, brains use a unique set of neural pathways known as associative memory, which enables us to discover a pattern from a partial clue.

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