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n 1  :  the act or process of dissociating  :  the state of being dissociated: as  a  :  the process by which a chemical combination breaks up into simpler constituents : esp  :  one that results from the action of energy (as heat) on a gas or of a solvent on a dissolved substance  b  :  the separation of whole segments of the personality (as in multiple personality) or of discrete mental processes (as in the schizophrenias) from the mainstream of consciousness or of behavior with loss of integrated awareness and autonomous functioning of the separated segments or parts  2  :  the process by which some biological stocks (as of certain bacteria) differentiate into two or more distinct and relatively permanent strains : also  :  such a strain .

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