• synonyms


[uh-soh-shee-ey-tiv, -see-, -shuh-tiv]
  1. pertaining to or resulting from association.
  2. tending to associate or unite.
  3. Mathematics, Logic.
    1. (of an operation on a set of elements) giving an equivalent expression when elements are grouped without change of order, as (a + b) + c = a + (b + c).
    2. having reference to this property: associative law of multiplication.
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Origin of associative

First recorded in 1805–15; associate + -ive
Related formsas·so·ci·a·tive·ly [uh-soh-shee-ey-tiv-lee, -uh-tiv-, -see-] /əˈsoʊ ʃiˌeɪ tɪv li, -ə tɪv-, -si-/, adverbas·so·ci·a·tiv·i·ty [uh-soh-shee-uh-tiv-i-tee, -see-, -shuh-tiv-] /əˌsoʊ ʃi əˈtɪv ɪ ti, -si-, -ʃəˈtɪv-/, as·so·ci·a·tive·ness, nounnon·as·so·ci·a·tive, adjectivenon·as·so·ci·a·tive·ly, adverbsub·as·so·ci·a·tive, adjectivesub·as·so·ci·a·tive·ly, adverbun·as·so·ci·a·tive, adjectiveun·as·so·ci·a·tive·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for associativity

Historical Examples of associativity

  • It is subjected to certain conditions and, for example, to the rules of commutativity and associativity of addition.

    The Foundations of Science: Science and Hypothesis, The Value of Science, Science and Method

    Henri Poincar

British Dictionary definitions for associativity


  1. of, relating to, or causing association or union
  2. maths logic
    1. being independent of the grouping of numbers, symbols, or terms within a given set, as in conjunction or in an expression such as (2 × 3) × 4 = 2 × (3 × 4)
    2. referring to this propertythe associative laws of arithmetic
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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

Word Origin and History for associativity



1812, from associate (v.) + -ive.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

associativity in Science


  1. Of or relating to the property of an operation, such as addition or multiplication, which states that the grouping of numbers undergoing the operation does not change the result. For example, 3 + (4 + 5) is equal to (3 + 4) + 5. See also commutative distributive.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.