Contact between peoples with different cultures, usually leading to change in one or both systems. Forms of culture contact traditionally include acculturation, assimilation, and amalgamation. Acculturation is the process of change in material culture, traditional practices, and beliefs that occurs when one group interferes in the cultural system of another, directly or indirectly challenging the latter to adapt to the ways of the former. Such change has characterized most political conquests and expansions over the centuries. Assimilation is the process whereby individuals or groups of differing ethnicity are absorbed into the dominant culture of a society—though not always completely. In the U.S. millions of European immigrants became assimilated within two or three generations; factors included the upheaval of overseas relocation, the influences of the public school system, and other forces in American life. Amalgamation (or hybridization) occurs when a society becomes ethnically mixed in a way that represents a synthesis rather than the elimination or absorption of one group by another. In Mexico, for example, Spanish and Indian cultures became increasingly amalgamated over centuries of contact.
Learn more about culture contact with a free trial on Britannica.com.
Thin artificial lens worn on the surface of the eye to correct refractive defects of vision. Early glass contact lenses, invented in 1887, were uncomfortable and could not be worn long. Plastic-based lenses, made to measurements of corneal curvature taken by optical instruments, were first developed in the mid 20th century. Gas-permeable lenses allow more oxygen to reach the eye, thus increasing comfort and wear time. Contact lenses have advantages over eyeglasses for certain visual defects and may be preferred for the sake of appearance and other reasons.
Learn more about contact lens with a free trial on Britannica.com.
Contact means to touch physically or to communicate with.
Contact may also refer to one of the things below.