Absorb, imbibe and assimilate all mean to take something in so as to become imbued with it.
Absorb is like to suggest a loss of identity in what is taken in or an enrichment of what takes in. (see also: Monopolize vs Engross vs Absorb vs Consume and Interesting vs Engrossing vs Absorbing vs Intriguing and Intent vs Engrossed vs Absorbed vs Rapt and Absorbed by vs Absorbed with )
- The cream is easily absorbed into the skin.
Imbibe implies a drinking in and may imply an unconscious taking in whose effect may be significant or profound.
- They were used to imbibing enormous quantities of alcohol.
Assimilate stresses an incorporation into the substance of the body or mind. (see also: Identify vs Incorporate vs Embody vs Assimilate )
- The committee will need time to assimilate this report.