to connect or bring into relation, as thought, feeling, memory, etc.:
Many people associate dark clouds with depression and gloom.
to join as a companion, partner, or ally:
to associate oneself with a cause.
to unite; combine:
coal associated with shale.
to enter into union; unite.
to keep company, as a friend, companion, or ally:
He was accused of associating with known criminals.
to join together as partners or colleagues.
a person who shares actively in anything as a business, enterprise, or undertaking; partner; colleague; fellow worker:
He consulted with his associates before proceeding further.
a companion or comrade:
my most intimate associates.
a confederate; an accomplice or ally:
criminal associates.
anything usually accompanying or associated with another; an accompaniment or concomitant.
a person who is admitted to a subordinate degree of membership in an or institution:
an associate of the Royal Academy.
connected, joined, or related, especially as a companion or colleague; having equal or nearly equal responsibility:
an associate partner.
having subordinate status; without full rights and privileges:
an associate member.
allied; concomitant.
Contemporary Examples

They point to her credibility – lying on a 10-year-old asylum application and associating with the wrong people.
A Bleak Day for Rape Victims Cheryl Thomas August 22, 2011

He receives the occasional visitor, but many of his family and friends fear that associating with him could be dangerous.
This Church Is Reviving the Sanctuary Movement to Shelter Undocumented Immigrants From Deportation Caitlin Dickson June 10, 2014

He reportedly has been associating with a high-ranking member of the Yamaguchi-gumi who is also on the US black list.
The Yakuza Olympics Jake Adelstein February 6, 2014

After all, Pepsi became a world-leading brand not on its actual virtues, but by associating it with a better, happier life.
Who Is Fazlullah? The Pakistani Mullah Who Targeted Malala Michael Daly November 8, 2013

Historical Examples

Afterwards, associating herself with another young lady, to whom she was tenderly attached, she succeeded better.
Brave Men and Women O.E. Fuller

associating with the Professor improves any man’s vocabulary, in spite of themselves.
See? Edward G. Robles

They do not separate the man from his work, but insist on associating him with it.
The Love Affairs of Lord Byron Francis Henry Gribble

It could be shown that he had been associating with those who had engaged in the plot.
John Deane of Nottingham W.H.G. Kingston

She was associating this tragedy with herself—as part of her life, her fate.
The Golden Woman Ridgwell Cullum

His daughters might amuse the children, but as to associating with Mrs. Caldwell, that was absurd!
The Beth Book Sarah Grand

verb (usually foll by with) (əˈsəʊʃɪˌeɪt; -sɪ-)
(transitive) to link or connect in the mind or imagination: to associate Christmas with fun
(intransitive) to keep company; mix socially: to associate with writers
(intransitive) to form or join an association, group, etc
(transitive; usually passive) to consider in conjunction; connect: rainfall is associated with humidity
(transitive) to bring (a person, esp oneself) into friendship, partnership, etc
(transitive; often passive) to express agreement or allow oneself to be connected (with): Bertrand Russell was associated with the peace movement
noun (əˈsəʊʃɪɪt; -ˌeɪt; -sɪ-)
a person joined with another or others in an enterprise, business, etc; partner; colleague
a companion or friend
something that usually accompanies another thing; concomitant: hope is an associate to happiness
a person having a subordinate position in or admitted to only partial membership of an institution, association, etc
adjective (prenominal) (əˈsəʊʃɪɪt; -ˌeɪt; -sɪ-)
joined with another or others in an enterprise, business, etc; having equal or nearly equal status: an associate director
having partial rights and privileges or subordinate status: an associate member
accompanying; concomitant

mid-15c., from Latin associatus past participle of associare “join with,” from ad- “to” (see ad-) + sociare “unite with,” from socius “companion” (see social (adj.)). Related: Associated; associating. Earlier form of the verb was associen (late 14c.), from Old French associier “associate (with).”

1530s, from associate (adj.).

early 15c., “allied, connected, paired,” from Latin associatus, past participle of associare (see associate (v.)).


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