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Borrowed from Late Latin assimilātus, variant of Latin assimulātus (made similar, imitated), perfect passive participle of assimulō, from ad + simulō (imitate, copy). Doublet of assemble.



assimilate (third-person singular simple present assimilates, present participle assimilating, simple past and past participle assimilated)

  1. To incorporate nutrients into the body, especially after digestion.
    Food is assimilated and converted into organic tissue.
    • Isaac Newton
      Hence also animals and vegetables may assimilate their nourishment.
  2. To incorporate or absorb knowledge into the mind.
    The teacher paused in her lecture to allow the students to assimilate what she had said.
    • Merivale
      His mind had no power to assimilate the lessons.
  3. To absorb a group of people into a community.
    The aliens in the science-fiction film wanted to assimilate human beings into their own race.
  4. To compare a thing to something similar.
  5. To bring to a likeness or to conformity; to cause a resemblance between.
    • John Bright
      to assimilate our law to the law of Scotland
    • Cowper
      Fast falls a fleecy shower; the downy flakes / Assimilate all objects.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Sir M. Hale to this entry?)


  • (incorporate or absorb knowledge into the mind): process
  • (absorb a group of people into a community): integrate


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.



  1. Something that is or has been assimilated.
    • 2005, Ep Heuvelink, Tomatoes ISBN 0851993966, page 65:
      At low light intensity, high temperature delays the first flower initiation, as assimilate supply is limiting and high temperature reduces the amount of assimilate available in the plant[.]
    • 2012, A. Läuchli, R.L. Bieleski, Inorganic Plant Nutrition ISBN 3642688853, page 83:
      the growing root and ectomycorrhizas both act as assimilate sinks




  1. second-person plural present of assimilare
  2. second-person plural imperative of assimilare




  1. first-person plural present active imperative of assimilō