ad·​here | \ ad-ˈhir How to pronounce adhere (audio) , 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


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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 Cowger notes that the current bots can also adhere to substances other than plastic and might not be safe if left in the water in large numbers. Scott Hershberger, Scientific American, 16 Aug. 2021 Skipping a step could result in paint that peels, chips, or does not adhere properly to the tile. Jessica Bennett, Better Homes & Gardens, 12 Aug. 2021 The officers committed three violations, including that officers must adhere to laws, city policy and department policy, according to disciplinary reports for each. Fox News, 7 Aug. 2021 Bettis has said that the roundtable’s goals are to ensure that Mobile’s COVID-19 relief funds adhere to Executive Order No. al, 7 July 2021 Can someone guarantee that the whole corporation will smoothly adhere to this new organizational style with no business operations lagging? Nadya Knysh, Forbes, 15 June 2021 In a separate order, the judge updated one of PG&E’s probation conditions to say that PG&E must adhere to state officials’ interpretation of certain vegetation management requirements. J.d. Morris, San Francisco Chronicle, 29 Apr. 2021 All the camps had students from multiple schools, and they were asked to adhere to their own mask policies — meaning students from some schools had to wear masks and students from others did not. Los Angeles Times, 26 Aug. 2021 Alerts include reminders to use a nicotine lozenge or gum before arriving at a smoking trigger and sends messages that encourage and motivate them to adhere to smoking cessation goals. Bryan W. Heckman, Scientific American, 26 Aug. 2021

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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Time Traveler for adhere

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

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Last Updated

14 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Adhere.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Sep. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce adhere (audio) \
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- How to pronounce adhere (audio) \
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 How to pronounce adhere (audio) \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on adhere

Nglish: Translation of adhere for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of adhere for Arabic Speakers


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