Acculturation – Definition & Meaning

Acculturation is a term that is frequently used in the fields of anthropology, sociology, and cultural studies. It refers to the process by which individuals or groups adopt the cultural practices and beliefs of another society. The concept of acculturation is essential in understanding how different cultures interact and influence each other.


According to the American Psychological Association (APA), acculturation is “the process of cultural and psychological change that takes place as a result of contact between two or more cultural groups.” In simpler terms, it is the process by which individuals or groups adapt to a new culture.
Another definition of acculturation is provided by John W. Berry, a renowned psychologist. He defines it as “the process by which individuals or groups adopt the cultural practices and values of another society, while still retaining their own cultural identity.”


The term “acculturation” was first used by the American anthropologist Franz Boas in the early 20th century. Boas used the term to describe the process by which Native American tribes were adapting to the cultural practices of European settlers.

Meaning in different dictionaries

The meaning of acculturation can vary slightly depending on the dictionary. In the Merriam-Webster dictionary, acculturation is defined as “the process of adopting the cultural traits or social patterns of another group.” The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as “the process of cultural change and psychological change that results from contact between two or more cultures.”


Acculturation is often associated with immigration and globalization. When people move to a new country, they are exposed to a new culture, and they may need to adapt their behavior and beliefs to fit in with the new society. Similarly, globalization has led to increased cultural exchange between different countries, which has resulted in more acculturation.


Some synonyms of acculturation include assimilation, adaptation, and integration. These terms all refer to the process by which individuals or groups adopt the cultural practices and beliefs of another society.


The antonyms of acculturation include isolationism, ethnocentrism, and cultural imperialism. These terms refer to the opposite of acculturation, where individuals or groups reject the cultural practices and beliefs of another society and instead focus on their own cultural identity.

The same root words

The word “acculturation” comes from the Latin word “cultura,” which means “cultivation” or “tending.” Other words that share the same root include “culture,” “cultivate,” and “cult.”

Example Sentences

  • The process of acculturation can be difficult for immigrants who are trying to adjust to a new culture.
  • The acculturation of Native American tribes to European customs was a slow and painful process.
  • The globalization of the world has led to increased acculturation between different cultures.
  • The government has implemented programs to help refugees with their acculturation into American society.
  • The acculturation of new employees into the company’s culture is an important part of the onboarding process.
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