Meaning "make alike, cause to resemble," and intransitive sense "become incorporated into" are from 1620s. In linguistics, "bring into accordance or agreement in speech," from 1854. Related: Assimilated; assimilating.
"make different, cause to be unlike," 1821, on model of assimilate, from dis- + Latin similis "like, resembling, of the same kind," from Old Latin semol "together" (from PIE root *sem- (1) "one; as one, together with"). In linguistics, of sounds, "to become unlike, to diverge," by 1860. Related: Dissimilated; dissimilating.
early 15c., "act of assimilating," in reference to the body's use of nutrition, from Old French assimilacion, from Latin assimilationem (nominative assimilatio) "likeness, similarity," noun of action from past-participle stem of assimilare "to make like" (see assimilate). Meaning "process of becoming alike or identical, conversion into a similar substance" is from 1620s. Figurative use from 1790. Psychological sense is from 1855.
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "one; as one, together with."
It forms all or part of: anomalous; anomaly; assemble; assimilate; ensemble; facsimile; fulsome; hamadryad; haplo-; haploid; hendeca-; hendiadys; henotheism; hetero-; heterodox; heterosexual; homeo-; homeopathy; homeostasis; homily; homo- (1) "same, the same, equal, like;" homogenous; homoiousian; homologous; homonym; homophone; homosexual; hyphen; resemble; same; samizdat; samovar; samsara; sangha; Sanskrit; seem; seemly; semper-; sempiternal; similar; simple; simplex; simplicity; simulacrum; simulate; simulation; simultaneous; single; singlet; singular; some; -some (1); -some (2); verisimilitude.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit sam "together," samah "even, level, similar, identical;" Avestan hama "similar, the same;" Greek hama "together with, at the same time," homos "one and the same," homios "like, resembling," homalos "even;" Latin similis "like;" Old Irish samail "likeness;" Old Church Slavonic samu "himself."
late 14c., digesten, assimilate (food) in the bowels," also "divide, separate; arrange methodically in the mind," from Latin digestus past participle of digerere "to separate, divide, arrange," etymologically "to carry apart," from dis- "apart" (see dis-) + gerere "to carry" (see gest). Meaning "assimilate mentally" is from mid-15c. Related: Digested; digesting.
"jug with an open spout and generally a handle," originally of metal or earthenware, c. 1200, pichere, from Old French pechier, pichier (12c., altered from bichier), and Medieval Latin picarius, picherius (altered from bicarium), both probably from Greek bikos "earthen vessel" (see beaker). Pitcher-proud (early 15c.) was "drunk." The pitcher-plant (1819) is so called for the shape of the modified leaves, which commonly contain liquid and are adapted to capture and assimilate insects.
"expose false or nonsensical claims or sentiments," 1923, from de- + bunk (n.2); apparently first used by U.S. novelist William Woodward (1874-1950), in his best-seller "Bunk;" the notion being "to take the bunk out of things." It got a boost from Harold U. Faulkner's "Colonial History Debunked" [Harper's Magazine, December 1925], which article itself quickly was debunked, and the word was in vogue in America in the mid-1920s. Related: Debunked; debunking.
Wets and Drys, Fundamentalists and Modernists, are busily engaged in debunking one another to the delight and edification of a public which divides its time between automobiling and listening-in. Is it art, or education, or religion that you prefer? You have only to get the right station and what you last heard about the matter will be cleverly debunked while you wait. [Carl Vernon Tower, "Genealogy 'Debunked," in Annual Reports of the Tower Genealogical Society, 1925]
It was, naturally, execrated in England.
The origin of to debunk is doubtless the same as that of American jargon in general — the inability of an ill-educated and unintelligent democracy to assimilate long words. Its intrusion in our own tongue is due partly to the odious novelty of the word itself, and partly to the prevailing fear that to write exact English nowadays is to be put down as a pedant and a prig. [letter to the editor, London Daily Telegraph, March 2, 1935, cited in Mencken, "The American Language"]