ad·here | \ ad-ˈhir , əd- \
adhered; adhering

Definition of adhere 

intransitive verb

1 : to hold fast or stick by or as if by gluing, suction, grasping, or fusing The stamp failed to adhere to the envelope.

2 : to give support or maintain loyalty adhere to traditional values

3 : to bind oneself to observance adhere to the rules

transitive verb

: to cause to stick fast The paper had been adhered to the wall.

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Synonyms for adhere


cleave, cling, hew, stick

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Choose the Right Synonym for adhere

stick, adhere, cohere, cling, cleave mean to become closely attached. stick implies attachment by affixing or by being glued together. couldn't get the label to stick adhere is often interchangeable with stick but sometimes implies a growing together. antibodies adhering to a virus cohere suggests a sticking together of parts so that they form a unified mass. eggs will make the mixture cohere cling implies attachment by hanging on with arms or tendrils. clinging to a capsized boat cleave stresses strength of attachment. the wet shirt cleaved to his back

Examples of adhere in a Sentence

The stamp failed to adhere. everyone started calling her “Cookie” when she was little and the name adhered

Recent Examples on the Web

President Xi’s decision to place film operations under party control, coming just before the all-important summer movie season, adds a new layer of uncertainty for studios already struggling to adhere to China’s complicated, fast-changing rules. Wayne Ma, WSJ, "Beijing’s New Superpowers Over Movie Industry Frustrate Hollywood Studios," 27 May 2018 For decades, the Vogue editor-in-chief has adhered to a strict uniform, which usually includes low Manolo Blahnik heels. Emilia Petrarca, The Cut, "We Regret to Inform You That Anna Wintour Is Now a Hypebeast," 12 July 2018 For all the surprises today, the fourth match to get started largely adhered to the script. Jon Wertheim,, "Four Thoughts From Four Quarterfinals: Rafa-Djokovic to Meet, Federer Upset," 11 July 2018 The bridesmaids’ dresses, from Cortana, A La Robe and Halston Heritage, adhered to the wedding palette of mustard yellow, blush, black and gold. Tamara Abraham, Harper's BAZAAR, "This Bridal Shop Owner Wore Five Different Dresses for her Palm Springs Wedding," 10 July 2018 At his headquarters, his followers strictly adhered to his teachings and beliefs. Christine Pelisek,, "4 Things You'll Learn About an Egyptian-Themed Sect Hiding Child Sex Abuse, on Monday's PMI: Cults," 8 July 2018 However, older engines adhere to older pollution standards. Umair Irfan, Vox, "Scott Pruitt gave “super polluting” trucks a gift on his last day at the EPA," 8 July 2018 The agreement was adhered to generally until the Syria war. Washington Post, "Israel lays down red lines for postwar relations with Syria," 5 July 2018 Real Art Ways adheres to the fundamental principle of our legal system that a person is considered innocent until proven guilty. Susan Dunne,, "Real Art Ways Film Programmer John Morrison Indicted On Child Porn Charges," 27 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'adhere.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of adhere

15th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 2

History and Etymology for adhere

borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French adhérer, going back to Old French ahérer, borrowed from Latin adhaerēre "to cling, stick (to), attach oneself, keep close (to a person)," from ad- ad- + haerēre "to be closely attached, stick" — more at hesitate

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Phrases Related to adhere

adhere to

Statistics for adhere

Last Updated

22 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for adhere

The first known use of adhere was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for adhere



English Language Learners Definition of adhere

: to stick to something : to attach firmly to something


ad·here | \ ad-ˈhir \
adhered; adhering

Kids Definition of adhere

1 : to stick tight : cling The stamps adhered to the envelope.

2 : to act in the way that is required by adhere to the rules


ad·here | \ ad-ˈhi(ə)r, əd- \
adhered; adhering

Medical Definition of adhere 

intransitive verb

1 : to hold fast or stick by or as if by gluing, suction, grasping, or fusing a gauze bandage adhering to the wound

2 : to become joined (as in pathological adhesion) the lung sometimes adheres to the pleura

transitive verb

: to cause to stick fast

Other words from adhere

adherence \-ˈhir-ən(t)s \ noun

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Comments on adhere

What made you want to look up adhere? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


occurring twice a year or every two years

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