associate to, associate with

As an intransitive verb (i.e. one that does not take an object), associate with means to be involved with a group as a result of shared interests or goals.

  • The saying “birds of a feather flock together” means that like-minded people associate with one another.

As a transitive verb (i.e. one that takes an object), associate with means to establish a link between one thing and another.

  • I associate autumn with the smell of wood smoke and a rich panoply of colours.
  • It is no longer common for a hockey player to be associated with the same team for many years.

Associate to is non-standard English.

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