1 of 2


ad·​her·​ent ad-ˈhir-ənt How to pronounce adherent (audio)
: one who adheres to something: such as
: a follower of a leader, party, or profession
Freud's adherents
: a believer in or advocate especially of a particular idea or church
adherents of Christianity
adherents of socialism


2 of 2


: able or tending to adhere
an adherent material
: connected or associated with especially by contract
nations adherent to the treaty
: adnate
adherently adverb

Did you know?

Stick With Adherent

Just as tape adheres to paper, a person may adhere to a cause, a faith, or a belief. Thus, you may be an adherent of Hinduism, an adherent of environmentalism, or an adherent of the Republican Party. A plan for cutting taxes always attracts adherents easily, regardless of what the cuts may result in.

Choose the Right Synonym for adherent

follower, adherent, disciple, partisan mean one who gives full loyalty and support to another.

follower may apply to people who attach themselves either to the person or beliefs of another.

an evangelist and his followers

adherent suggests a close and persistent attachment.

adherents to Marxism

disciple implies a devoted allegiance to the teachings of one chosen as a master.

disciples of Gandhi

partisan suggests a zealous often prejudiced attachment.

partisans of the President

Examples of adherent in a Sentence

Noun an adherent of free trade the Flat Earth Society surely doesn't have many adherents Adjective the bandage is made from a mildly adherent fiber
Recent Examples on the Web
Hun Sen, Asia’s longest-ruling leader, to step down, names son successor Move Forward supporters as well as a segment of Pheu Thai adherents say the new coalition ignores what people demanded at the polls, which is an end to military rule. Rebecca Tan, Washington Post, 22 Aug. 2023 But no matter the fanaticism of the adherents, there is a ceiling on converts willing to listen to 15-minute songs about the shadows of the moon. Jeff Weiss, Spin, 21 Aug. 2023 Of course, that doesn’t reduce its value to QAnon adherents, who view it as a potential gateway to their more radical ideas. Miles Klee, Rolling Stone, 14 Aug. 2023 But in matters of pseudoscience, even its most enthusiastic adherents have their suspicions. Rachel Silva, ELLE Decor, 17 July 2023 Yes, with the United States facing threats both within and without, our tastemakers decided to focus on body aesthetics or, more specifically, on pursuing a brutal thinness that all but demanded asceticism from its adherents. John Paul Brammer, SELF, 7 Sep. 2023 But adherents are quick to note that girl dinners are not about deprivation. Jessica Roy, New York Times, 8 July 2023 But adherents believe that day is nigh, and the tech could usher in an era where people can take back their online interactions from the big companies and keep things amongst themselves. WIRED, 5 Aug. 2023 But Meta’s statement Thursday suggests that the ban applies primarily to content that can be traced directly back to the group, rather than by its adherents or third-party supporters. Brian Fung, CNN, 17 Aug. 2023
Those and other solutions will go a long way toward helping patients stay engaged with their health goals over time and remain adherent. Lutz Finger, Forbes, 27 Mar. 2023 With dry scalp, the flakes are likely to be whiter and smaller, and, says Dr. Gohara, since it’s not caused by an overabundance of oil, the flakes are not adherent. Lisa Bain, Good Housekeeping, 28 Feb. 2023 If the patient stops taking their medication, the specialty pharmacist is not connected to the prescribing physician and has no way of knowing if the physician stopped prescribing the drug or if the patient is non-adherent. Gary Drenik, Forbes, 28 Dec. 2022 Cooking adds calories, Carmody says, and she's got some Atkins-adherent mice to back her up. Elizabeth Preston, Discover Magazine, 8 Nov. 2011 It was awarded its first military contract in 1978 and still produces glasses adherent to the military’s 20-page-long technical requirements, for both Department of Defense and civilian customers. Wes Siler, Outside Online, 11 Aug. 2020 Like vaccinated health-care workers who have a professional duty to unvaccinated patients — or vice versa — Ramadan-adherent restaurant workers navigate the paradoxical crossroads of sawm (fasting) and indulgence. Washington Post, 6 Apr. 2022 It’s one thing to criticize a country growing more secular and less adherent to any faith tradition. Elaine Ayala, San Antonio Express-News, 1 Dec. 2021 Possibly the odor of night crawlers, leeches and fatheads that attends walleye fishing ensures adherent immunity. Star Tribune, 8 May 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'adherent.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Medieval Latin adhaerent-, adhaerens, going back to Latin, present participle of adhaerēre "to adhere"


Middle English aherdaunt, adherent, borrowed from Anglo-French aheirdant, going back to Latin adhaerent-, adhaerens, present participle of adhaerēre "to adhere"

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined above


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of adherent was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near adherent

Cite this Entry

“Adherent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 adjective
ad·​her·​ent ad-ˈhir-ənt How to pronounce adherent (audio)
: able or tending to adhere


2 of 2 noun
: a person who adheres to a leader, belief, or group

More from Merriam-Webster on adherent

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!