Etymology
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associate (v.)

mid-15c., "join in company, combine intimately" (transitive), from Latin associatus past participle of associare "join with," from assimilated form of ad "to" (see ad-) + sociare "unite with," from socius "companion, ally," from PIE *sokw-yo-, suffixed form of root *sekw- (1) "to follow." Related: Associated; associating. Intransitive sense of "have intercourse, be associated" is from 1640s. Earlier form of the verb was associen (late 14c.), from Old French associier "associate (with)."

associate (n.)

1530s, "a partner in interest or business," from associate (adj.). Meaning "one admitted to a subordinate degree of membership" is from 1812.

associate (adj.)

early 15c., "allied, connected, paired; joined in an interest, object, employment or purpose," from Latin associatus, past participle of associare "join with," from assimilated form of ad "to" (see ad-) + sociare "unite with," from socius "companion, ally," from PIE *sokw-yo-, suffixed form of root *sekw- (1) "to follow."

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Definitions of associate
1
associate (n.)
a person who joins with others in some activity or endeavor;
he had to consult his associate before continuing
associate (n.)
a friend who is frequently in the company of another;
Synonyms: companion / comrade / fellow / familiar
associate (n.)
a person with subordinate membership in a society, institution, or commercial enterprise;
associates in the law firm bill at a lower rate than do partners
associate (n.)
any event that usually accompanies or is closely connected with another;
first was the lightning and then its thunderous associate
associate (n.)
a degree granted by a two-year college on successful completion of the undergraduates course of studies;
Synonyms: associate degree
2
associate (v.)
make a logical or causal connection;
Synonyms: tie in / relate / link / colligate / link up / connect
associate (v.)
keep company with; hang out with;
He associates with strange people
Synonyms: consort / affiliate / assort
associate (v.)
bring or come into association or action;
Synonyms: consociate
3
associate (adj.)
having partial rights and privileges or subordinate status;
an associate professor
an associate member
From wordnet.princeton.edu