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Identify vs Incorporate vs Embody vs Assimilate

Identify, incorporateembodyassimilate are comparable when they mean to bring (one or more things) into union with another thing.

Identify involves the idea of a union of things that are or are thought of as identical, or the same; it may imply the actual making of a thing or things the same as another or it may refer to the mental apprehension of a real or imagined identity between things. This latter use may connote confusion in thought or self-deception.

Incorporate implies a union of one or more things with another, or of different things, so that when blended, fused, or otherwise united they constitute a uniform substance, a single body, or an integral whole.

Embody (see also REALIZE 1 ) is more restricted in its range of application than incorporate because it can be used only when one or more things are made part of another thing that is an ordered whole (as an organized structure, a group, or a system).

Assimilate (see also ABSORB 1 ) falls short of identify because it does not always imply the actual fusion or blending or, when self-deception is connoted, the actual confusion, of two things. Like identify, however, assimilate implies the making of two or more things exactly alike, either actually or in thought; thus, to assimilate one’s beliefs to those of another is to change them so that they become the same as his; to identify one’s beliefs with those of another is to make them one and indistinguishable as well as the same; the d of the Latin prefix ad – is often assimilated to a following consonant as in affectus for adfectus.