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The associates of a number in a ring are the products of that number by each of the units. For example, among the Gaussian integers, the associates of are , and , which are the original number multiplied by –1, and respectively. A number is one of its own associates, as it is itself multiplied by 1.

It is common to mod out associates, identifying (for example) –3 and 3 as members of the same equivalence class.