Association has to do with things that are together, whether in a formal group like the National Basketball Association or just two things that are related, like the association between dogs and parks.

Any time people or things are connected, there are associations. The National Basketball Association is an example of the business meaning of association — a formal organization or group that works together. If you ask, "What is your association with Bill?" That just means, "How are you connected to Bill?" You can also make mental associations — you might make an association between the smell of fresh bread and your grandmother's kitchen, for example.

Definitions of association
  1. noun
    a formal organization of people or groups of people
    “he joined the Modern Language Association
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    American Baptist Convention, Northern Baptist Convention
    an association of Northern Baptists
    Southern Baptist Convention
    an association of Southern Baptists
    an association formed and operated for the benefit of those using it
    club, gild, guild, lodge, order, social club, society
    a formal association of people with similar interests
    family, fellowship
    an association of people who share common beliefs or activities
    American Legion
    the largest organization of United States war veterans
    VFW, Veterans of Foreign Wars
    an organization of United States war veterans
    conference, league
    an association of sports teams that organizes matches for its members
    secret society
    a society that conceals its activities from nonmembers
    consortium, pool, syndicate
    an association of companies for some definite purpose
    professional association
    an association of practitioners of a given profession
    Fabian Society
    an association of British socialists who advocate gradual reforms within the law leading to democratic socialism
    gang, mob, pack, ring
    an association of criminals
    association of ex-servicemen
    chamber of commerce
    an association of businesspeople to protect and promote business interests
    an association organized to promote art or science or education
    sisterhood, sistership
    an association or society of women who are linked together by a common religion or trade or interest
    AARP, Association for the Advancement of Retired Persons
    an association of people to promote the welfare of senior citizens
    National Association of Realtors
    a United States association of real estate agents which follows a strict code of ethics
    ASEAN, Association of Southeast Asian Nations
    an association of nations dedicated to economic and political cooperation in southeastern Asia and who joined with the United States to fight against global terrorism
    Christian fellowship or communion with God or with fellow Christians; said in particular of the early Christian community
    athenaeum, atheneum
    a literary or scientific association for the promotion of learning
    a club that people join in order to buy selected books at reduced prices
    a local branch of some fraternity or association
    chess club
    a club of people to play chess
    country club
    a suburban club for recreation and socializing
    frat, fraternity
    a social club for male undergraduates
    glee club
    a club organized to sing together
    golf club
    a club of people to play golf
    hunt, hunt club
    an association of huntsmen who hunt for sport
    investors club
    a club of small investors who buy and sell securities jointly
    jockey club
    a club to promote and regulate horse racing
    racket club
    club for players of racket sports
    rowing club
    a club for rowers
    slate club
    a group of people who save money in a common fund for a specific purpose (usually distributed at Christmas)
    a social club for female undergraduates
    a club of tumblers or gymnasts
    boat club, yacht club
    club that promotes and supports yachting and boating
    big league, major league, majors
    the most important league in any sport (especially baseball)
    bush league, minor league, minors
    a league of teams that do not belong to a major league (especially baseball)
    baseball league
    a league of baseball teams
    basketball league
    a league of basketball teams
    bowling league
    a league of bowling teams
    football league
    a league of football teams
    hockey league
    a league of hockey teams
    Ivy League
    a league of universities and colleges in the northeastern United States that have a reputation for scholastic achievement and social prestige
    Freemasonry, Masonry
    Freemasons collectively
    National Volunteers Association, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh
    an all-male organization begun in 1925 to foster nationalism in India's Hindus
    service club
    a club of professional or business people organized for their coordination and active in public services
    cartel, combine, corporate trust, trust
    a consortium of independent organizations formed to limit competition by controlling the production and distribution of a product or service
    class, division
    a league ranked by quality
    a gang of people (criminals or spies or terrorists) assembled in one locality
    youth gang
    a gang whose members are teenagers
    type of:
    organisation, organization
    a group of people who work together
  2. noun
    a social or business relationship
    “many close associations with England”
    synonyms: affiliation, tie, tie-up
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    type of:
    a state involving mutual dealings between people or parties or countries
  3. noun
    the act of consorting with or joining with others
    “you cannot be convicted of criminal guilt by association
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    fraternisation, fraternization
    associating with others in a brotherly or friendly way; especially with an enemy
    the act of becoming formally connected or joined
    affiliation anew
    type of:
    social activity
    activity considered appropriate on social occasions
  4. noun
    (ecology) a group of organisms (plants and animals) that live together in a certain geographical region and constitute a community with a few dominant species
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    an association between organisms that is harmful to one of them or between organisms and a metabolic product of another
    type of:
    group, grouping
    any number of entities (members) considered as a unit
  5. noun
    a relation resulting from interaction or dependence
    “flints were found in association with the prehistoric remains of the bear”
    “the host is not always injured by association with a parasite”
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    type of:
    an abstraction belonging to or characteristic of two entities or parts together
  6. noun
    the process of bringing ideas or events together in memory or imagination
    “conditioning is a form of learning by association
    synonyms: connection, connexion
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    the connection of isolated facts by a general hypothesis
    generalisation, generalization, induction, inductive reasoning
    reasoning from detailed facts to general principles
    type of:
    memory, remembering
    the cognitive processes whereby past experience is remembered
  7. noun
    the state of being connected together as in memory or imagination
    “his association of his father with being beaten was too strong to break”
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    the state of being unconnected in memory or imagination
    type of:
    unification, union
    the state of being joined or united or linked
  8. noun
    (chemistry) any process of combination (especially in solution) that depends on relatively weak chemical bonding
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    the process of combining with water; usually reversible
    a chemical process in which solvent molecules and molecules or ions of the solute combine to form a compound
    type of:
    chemical action, chemical change, chemical process
    (chemistry) any process determined by the atomic and molecular composition and structure of the substances involved
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