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[verb uh-sim-uh-leyt; noun uh-sim-uh-lit, -leyt] /verb əˈsɪm əˌleɪt; noun əˈsɪm ə lɪt, -ˌleɪt/
verb (used with object), assimilated, assimilating.
to take in and incorporate as one's own; absorb:
He assimilated many new experiences on his European trip.
to bring into conformity with the customs, attitudes, etc., of a group, nation, or the like; adapt or adjust:
to assimilate the new immigrants.
Physiology. to convert (food) to substances suitable for incorporation into the body and its tissues.
to cause to resemble (usually followed by to or with).
to compare; liken (usually followed by to or with).
Phonetics. to modify by assimilation.
verb (used without object), assimilated, assimilating.
to be or become absorbed.
to conform or adjust to the customs, attitudes, etc., of a group, nation, or the like:
The new arrivals assimilated easily and quickly.
Physiology. (of food) to be converted into the substance of the body; be absorbed into the system.
to bear a resemblance (usually followed by to or with).
Phonetics. to become modified by assimilation.
something that is assimilated.
Origin of assimilate
1570-80; < Latin assimilātus likened to, made like (past participle of assimilāre), equivalent to as- as- + simil- (see similar) + -ātus -ate1
Related forms
assimilator, noun
nonassimilating, adjective
reassimilate, verb, reassimilated, reassimilating.
unassimilated, adjective
unassimilating, adjective
well-assimilated, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for assimilate
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Man's function as a force of nature was to assimilate other forces as he assimilated food.

  • I wanted to assimilate a new fact, to get my mental vision into focus again.

    Gossamer George A. Birmingham
  • Those who assimilate their imperfect natures to the perfect type will become orators.

  • All this took Mike the Angel about one quarter of a second to assimilate.

    Unwise Child Gordon Randall Garrett
  • Democracy has on one side to assimilate aristocracy, and not overturn it.

    The Psychology of Nations G.E. Partridge
British Dictionary definitions for assimilate


(transitive) to learn (information, a procedure, etc) and understand it thoroughly
(transitive) to absorb (food) and incorporate it into the body tissues
(intransitive) to become absorbed, incorporated, or learned and understood
usually foll by into or with. to bring or come into harmony; adjust or become adjusted: the new immigrants assimilated easily
usually foll by to or with. to become or cause to become similar
(usually foll by to) (phonetics) to change (a consonant) or (of a consonant) to be changed into another under the influence of one adjacent to it: (n) often assimilates to ŋ before (k), as in ``include''
Derived Forms
assimilable, adjective
assimilably, adverb
assimilation, noun
assimilative, assimilatory, adjective
assimilator, noun
assimilatively, adverb
Word Origin
C15: from Latin assimilāre to make one thing like another, from similis like, similar
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for assimilate

early 15c., from Latin assimilatus "feigned, pretended, fictitious," past participle of assimilare "to make like," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + simulare "make similar," from similis "like, resembling" (see similar). Originally transitive (with to); intransitive use first recorded 1837. Related: Assimilated; assimilating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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assimilate in Medicine

assimilate as·sim·i·late (ə-sĭm'ə-lāt')
v. as·sim·i·lat·ed, as·sim·i·lat·ing, as·sim·i·lates

  1. To consume and incorporate nutrients into the body after digestion.

  2. To transform food into living tissue by the process of anabolism.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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