ad·​he·​sive | \ ad-ˈhē-siv How to pronounce adhesive (audio) , -ziv How to pronounce adhesive (audio) , əd- \

Definition of adhesive

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : tending to remain in association or memory
2 : tending to adhere or cause adherence
3 : prepared for adhering
4 medical : characterized by the formation of new fibrous tissue resulting from an inflammatory process adhesive inflammations



Definition of adhesive (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an adhesive substance (such as glue or cement)
2 : a postage stamp with a gummed back

Other Words from adhesive


adhesively adverb
adhesiveness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for adhesive

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Adjective

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of adhesive in a Sentence

Adjective Cover the cut with an adhesive bandage. walked barefoot through adhesive, clayey mud Noun You'll need a strong adhesive to attach the boards. prefers postage stamps coated with adhesive so that she doesn't have to do any licking
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The adhesive works on smooth, finished surfaces and holds steady through rain, snow, and extreme temperatures. Jessica Bennett, Better Homes & Gardens, 17 Dec. 2021 Mouth tapers affix a not-too-sticky adhesive strip, such as surgical tape, either horizontally or vertically across their lips. Stu Woo, WSJ, 22 Aug. 2022 The ornament bobblehead has a string for hanging, while the dashboard mini bobblehead has an adhesive strip on the base. Shanzeh Ahmad, Chicago Tribune, 21 Aug. 2022 But glue from a tube is only one very specific type of material that is adhesive. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, 21 July 2022 For this case, VR training lacks appropriate force feedback and manipulators that resemble welding machines; however, it can be used for learning the principles of brazing, adhesive bonding and more. Sergei Vardomatski, Forbes, 2 Aug. 2022 Next, peel the adhesive backing off and firmly attach it to the wall, carefully squeezing out all air bubbles. Heath Owens, Good Housekeeping, 28 July 2022 The autopsy found evidence of medical interventions including tourniquets, gauze dressings, adhesive seals and defibrillator pads, according to Kohler. Praveena Somasundaram, Washington Post, 16 July 2022 The pool will be partially drained so workers can apply and cure adhesive material. Thomas Jewell, cleveland, 13 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Over the millennia, artisans all over the world learned to mix stone, sand, water, limestone and clay to fashion various types of cement adhesive. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, 9 Sep. 2022 Meanwhile, his polymer team created an adhesive that bonded in under two seconds. Viju Mathew, Robb Report, 6 Aug. 2022 Instead of making the device itself stretchy, Zhao and his team attached a rigid probe, just three millimeters thick, to a flexible layer of adhesive. Sophie Bushwick, Scientific American, 29 July 2022 The brand recommends to avoid wearing outside in very high temperatures, as sweat can affect the stickiness of the adhesive. Emma Seymour, Good Housekeeping, 11 July 2022 Dell's rep said that once the issue with the adhesive was discovered, Dell corrected its production process, so other units should not be affected. Scharon Harding, Ars Technica, 31 Aug. 2022 Then place a dowel through the center and secure the urns and pumpkins in place with adhesive. Megan Boettcher, Better Homes & Gardens, 27 Aug. 2022 Many of those patients will eventually require an insulin pump—a small, digital device that continuously delivers rapid-acting insulin through a small catheter and is secured in place on the skin with adhesive. Wired, 9 Aug. 2022 Fitted Tailgate Table Cover ($15.99, Fanatics) has an elastic edge and comes with adhesive. Paris Wolfe, cleveland, 5 Aug. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of adhesive


1661, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1849, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for adhesive


borrowed from Medieval Latin adhaesīvus, from Latin adhaesus (past participle of adhaerēre "to adhere") + -īvus -ive


derivative of adhesive entry 1

Learn More About adhesive

Time Traveler for adhesive

Time Traveler

The first known use of adhesive was in 1661

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near adhesive



adhesive binding

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for adhesive

Last Updated

9 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Adhesive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for adhesive


ad·​he·​sive | \ ad-ˈhē-siv How to pronounce adhesive (audio) , -ziv \

Kids Definition of adhesive

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: tending to stick : sticky adhesive bandages



Kids Definition of adhesive (Entry 2 of 2)

: a substance that is used to make things stick together


ad·​he·​sive | \ -ˈhē-siv How to pronounce adhesive (audio) , -ziv How to pronounce adhesive (audio) \

Medical Definition of adhesive

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : tending to adhere or cause adherence adhesive resins
b : prepared for adhering an adhesive bandage
2 : characterized by adhesions adhesive inflammation

Other Words from adhesive

adhesively adverb



Medical Definition of adhesive (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an adhesive substance especially : a substance (as glue, starch, paste, or mucilage) that bonds two materials together by adhering to the surface of each

More from Merriam-Webster on adhesive

Nglish: Translation of adhesive for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of adhesive for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about adhesive


Test Your Vocabulary

Odd Habits and Quirks

  • image1926873504
  • Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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