The Grammarphobia Blog

Is this integration?

Q: Can the word “integrate” be used in this sentence: “We are writing a manual that integrates the concepts of urban forestry and stormwater management”? Or, must it be used in the sense that one thing is put INTO another: “We are writing a manual that integrates the concepts of urban forestry into those of stormwater management”? A colleague says the latter is the only correct usage, while I think the former is acceptable. Can you help?

A: You win the argument. The verb “integrate” means, among other things, to unite or bring parts together as well as to bring a part into a larger unit.

In fact, the first definition is the earliest and most common. The word, first used in English in 1638 according to the Oxford English Dictionary, comes from the Latin integrare, to make whole.

The earliest use of the word “integrate” in the racial sense (to make open to all racial or ethnic groups) dates from 1948, according to the OED.

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