Collocate is a verb that means to be paired with or arranged side by side. Words can collocate with each other, like peanut butter and jelly. It can be used with or without an object, in other words, can be transitive or intransitive. The word is being used more often these days in business or science.

The noun form is collocation and is used mostly for orderings of words or the arrangement of certain words. It also has an adjective form of collocational.


“We have to go back to our rolling plans so that we can have some level of certainty and every year’s budget will now collocate into the budgets of the rolling plans.” [The Guardian]

Although Rich can’t issue speeding tickets, he can collocate his own speeding figures and pass them on to Devon County Council’s road safety team. [Exeter Express and Echo]

While junior and committee dominated as common collocates for prom in the first half of the 20th century, there is a distinct shift in interests in the latter half onward. [Slate Magazine]

MCPS has suggested collocating the Rock Terrace School, which serves students age 12-21 with special needs, with the new Tilden Middle School once it’s built. [Bethesda Now]

The buildings offer collocation services, meaning they provide physical space and security for the networking needs of other companies. [The Wall Street Journal]

We immediately recognize these constructions as wrong because they lack what I call collocational cadence, that is, they don’t naturally co-occur in everyday speech. So they sound “weird” to the ear. [All Africa]

1 thought on “Collocate”

  1. You have “words cam” instead of “can” in your second sentence here.
    You might want to do a “commonly confused words” piece comparing collocate with co-locate (of two or more things, to share a site or location), I distinction with which I have seen people struggle.


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