pertaining to or resulting from association.
tending to associate or unite.
Mathematics, Logic.

(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).
having reference to this property:
associative law of multiplication.

Contemporary Examples

Certain professors see a chance to benefit from this associative taint.
The Professor of Hip-Hop: Adam Bradley’s Poetic Mission Nick Romeo September 16, 2012

I mean, instead, a mind that is thoughtful, curious, with a discernable pattern of associative thinking and insight.
Sarah Palin’s a Brainiac Elaine Lafferty October 26, 2008

Who is Friedman’s source (and, by the associative property, Shapiro’s)?
Hagel Tied To Junior League of Hezbollah Ali Gharib February 19, 2013

Historical Examples

Now it is fair to the farmer to admit that his calling does not lend itself readily to associative action.
The Rural Life Problem of the United States Horace Curzon Plunkett

Without this power of associative memory we would not be able to reason.
Plain English Marian Wharton

A further misunderstanding is apt to be caused by Kants statement that associative affinity rests upon objective affinity.
A Commentary to Kant’s ‘Critique of Pure Reason’ Norman Kemp Smith

The sensory and motor mechanism has ripened, but not the associative.
Appletons’ Popular Science Monthly, January 1899 Various

These are examples of the associative law for multiplication ( 58 (iv)).
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 2, Slice 5 Various

Or would the thoughts be true if they had no associative or impulsive tendencies?
The Meaning of Truth William James

The matter, therefore, in which associative imagination can be shown is 11.
Modern Painters Volume II (of V) John Ruskin

of, relating to, or causing association or union
(maths, logic)

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)
referring to this property: the associative laws of arithmetic


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