1. To have a relationship with someone. In this usage, a reflexive pronoun can be used between "associate" and "with." I don't associate with criminals like him. I think he's happy to associate himself with successful people like us.
2. To connect various people or things in one's mind, usually for a specific reason that is unique to that person. A noun is used between "associate" and "with." I associate the smell of cinnamon with Christmas because of the cookies my mother used to bake every year. He always associates Liz with me because he met us at the same time.
associate someone or something with someone or something
to link someone or something [in one's mind] to someone or something else. (Something and someone can occur in all possible combinations.) I always associate Walter with pizza for some reason. I associate pizza with stringy cheese.
associate with someone
to be friendly with someone; to be acquainted with someone socially in a work setting. We seek to associate with persons like ourselves. I like to associate with interesting people.
1. To keep company with someone or some group: They are very snobbish and don't associate with people from our side of town.
2. To link something in the mind with something else: People often associate sunny weather with happiness.