"is associated with" isn't any better than "binds" (or "is bound to").
in reply to Re: Re: Why do we say the =~ operator "binds"?
in thread Why do we say the =~ operator "binds"?
There is no binding, there is no associating.
The expressions on the two sides of the =~ are simply arguments to a built-in function.
It is far more accurate to talk about "applying" the pattern to the string.
Or, for Jah's sake, why not simply "the string is tested against the pattern"?
"=~ is the pattern-applying operator."