What's the right verb in English to describe the process of one culture of one nation coming to another nation and starting to dominate there so much that the original culture of that second nation eventually disappears?

For example,

Geblerians attacked Finelia and fully conquered it. Soon all citizens of Finelia were forced to learn and speak Geblerian. No Finelian would be allowed to get any key position in the society unless he was fluent enough in Geblerian. And since Geblerians were much more versed in science and literature a lot of Geblerian words and terms started getting into Finelian. Within the following 20 years, with the birth and growth of a new generation of Finelians, situation was changed drastically. Young Finelians refused to communicate in Finelian, which they were now understanding less and less and used only to communicate with their parents. So, another ten years later Finelian culture was completely __________________ by the Geblerain culture.

  1. devoured ?
  2. engulfed ?
  3. superseded ?
  4. diffused ?
  5. diluted ?
  6. ?

Verbs like "superseded" and "replaced" don't strike me as suitable here because they don't seem to reflect the intrinsic aspect of the process.

  • Another option is subsumed.
    – Justin
    Mar 4, 2020 at 14:38
  • 1
    It's called Cultural assimilation (that's a Wikipedia article on the topic). Mar 4, 2020 at 14:54
  • @FumbleFingersReinstateMonica - As I gather from reading this article, the term is more about a group (the one being assimilated) starting to resemble another group (the one that influences the first group), but it doesn't really imply that the first group completely loses its distinctive characteristics. In other words, it's about starting to resemble, not about starting to disappear.
    – brilliant
    Mar 9, 2020 at 12:34

2 Answers 2


Assimilation. As in "you will be assimilated."

We are the Borg. Lower your shields and surrender your ships. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile.


I like the suggestion of 'subsumed'. Other possibilities - displaced, annihilated, eradicated, or options 1 through 3 above. 4 and 5 don't fit too well. What do you mean by 'intrinsic'?

  • By "intrinsic" I mean "inner, internal", that is, a gradual change happening on the deeper level rather than a blunt replacement.
    – brilliant
    Mar 4, 2020 at 15:53
  • The "fully conquered" and "were forced" don't sound intrinsic, to me, but externally imposed. Maybe after the first generation, though. Mar 5, 2020 at 18:05
  • "The "fully conquered" and "were forced" don't sound intrinsic, to me, but externally imposed" - Yes, but it was not a one-time replacement of one culture by another one either -- instead, the gradual process of change started at that time, it lasted for many years and was happening on each-individual level.
    – brilliant
    Mar 5, 2020 at 22:24
  • I don't think the word 'intrinsic' addresses gradualness, just internality. Mar 7, 2020 at 18:51
  • I didn't use the word 'intrinsic' to mean gradual.
    – brilliant
    Mar 8, 2020 at 3:12

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