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

  • n. The act or process of assimilating.
  • n. The state of being assimilated.
  • n. Physiology The conversion of nutriments into living tissue; constructive metabolism.
  • n. Linguistics The process by which a sound is modified so that it becomes similar or identical to an adjacent or nearby sound. For example, the prefix in- becomes im- in impossible by assimilation to the labial p of possible.
  • n. The process whereby a minority group gradually adopts the customs and attitudes of the prevailing culture.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The act of assimilating or the state of being assimilated.
  • n. The metabolic conversion of nutrients into tissue.
  • n. The absorption of new ideas into an existing cognitive structure.
  • n. A sound change process by which the phonetics of a speech segment becomes more like that of another segment in a word (or at a word boundary), so that a change of phoneme occurs.
  • n. (cultural studies) The adoption, by a minority group, of the customs and attitudes of the dominant culture.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act or process of assimilating or bringing to a resemblance, likeness, or identity; also, the state of being so assimilated.
  • n. The conversion of nutriment into the fluid or solid substance of the body, by the processes of digestion and absorption, whether in plants or animals.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The act or process of assimilating or of being assimilated.
  • n. In physiology, the act or process by which organisms convert and absorb nutriment, so that it becomes part of the fluid or solid substances composing them.
  • n. In pathology, the supposed conversion, according to an obsolete theory, of the fluids of the body to the nature of any morbific matter.
  • n. In philology, the act or process by which one alphabetic sound is rendered like, or less unlike, another neighboring sound; a lightening of the effort of utterance by lessening or removing the discordance of formation between different sounds in a word, or in contiguous words. The kinds and degrees of assimilation are very various, and include a large part of the historical changes in the phonetic form of words. Examples are assimilate from Latin ad-similare, correction from Latin conrectio, impend from L. in-pendere, Latin rectus from reg-tus, Latin rex(reks) from reg-s, English legs (pronounced legz), reaped (pronounced reapt), and so on.
  • n. In physiology, the conversion of chyle into material suitable for appropriation by the tissues.
  • n. In psychology: The process whereby new contents are received into a given consciousness: a general term covering the processes of fusion, association contrast, recognition, etc.
  • n. In Wundt's terminology, a particular form of the simultaneous association of ideas.
  • n. In petrography, a term used to express the theory that molten magmas, when forced upward into the solid rocks, may, through fusion of included fragments or wall rock, absorb or assimilate a certain amount of these foreign materials, thus changing in some degree the chemical composition of the magma as a whole.

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

  • n. the process of assimilating new ideas into an existing cognitive structure
  • n. the state of being assimilated; people of different backgrounds come to see themselves as part of a larger national family
  • n. the process of absorbing nutrients into the body after digestion
  • n. in the theories of Jean Piaget: the application of a general schema to a particular instance
  • n. a linguistic process by which a sound becomes similar to an adjacent sound
  • n. the social process of absorbing one cultural group into harmony with another


Sorry, no etymologies found.



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  • The Borg do this to other races in "Star Trek."

    November 1, 2012