verb co·a·lesce \ ˌkō-ə-ˈles \
|Updated on: 20 Jul 2018

Definition of coalesce

coalesced; coalescing
1 : to grow together
  • The edges of the wound coalesced.
2 a : to unite into a whole : fuse
  • separate townships have coalesced into a single, sprawling colony
  • —Donald Gould
b : to unite for a common end : join forces
  • people with different points of view coalesce into opposing factions
  • —I. L. Horowitz
3 : to arise from the combination of distinct elements
  • an organized and a popular resistance immediately coalesced
  • —C. C. Menges
: to cause to unite
  • sometimes a book coalesces a public into a mass market
  • —Walter Meade


play \-ˈle-sᵊn(t)s\ noun


play \-sᵊnt\ adjective

coalesce was our Word of the Day on 08/29/2017. Hear the podcast!

Examples of coalesce in a Sentence

  1. a group of young reformers who gradually coalesced into a political movement

  2. The ice masses coalesced into a glacier over time.

Recent Examples of coalesce from the Web

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

Did You Know?

Coalesce unites the prefix co- ("together") and the Latin verb alescere, meaning "to grow." (The words "adolescent" and "adult" also grew from "alescere.") "Coalesce," which first appeared in English in the mid-17th century, is one of a number of verbs in English (along with "mix," "commingle," "merge," and "amalgamate") that refer to the act of combining parts into a whole. In particular, "coalesce" usually implies the merging of similar parts to form a cohesive unit.

Origin and Etymology of coalesce

Latin coalescere, from co- + alescere to grow — more at old

Synonym Discussion of coalesce

mix, mingle, commingle, blend, merge, coalesce, amalgamate, fuse mean to combine into a more or less uniform whole. mix may or may not imply loss of each element's identity.
    • mix the salad greens
    • mix a drink
mingle usually suggests that the elements are still somewhat distinguishable or separately active.
    • fear mingled with anticipation in my mind
commingle implies a closer or more thorough mingling.
    • a sense of duty commingled with a fierce pride drove her
blend implies that the elements as such disappear in the resulting mixture.
    • blended several teas to create a balanced flavor
merge suggests a combining in which one or more elements are lost in the whole.
    • in his mind reality and fantasy merged
coalesce implies an affinity in the merging elements and usually a resulting organic unity.
    • telling details that coalesce into a striking portrait
amalgamate implies the forming of a close union without complete loss of individual identities.
    • refugees who were readily amalgamated into the community
fuse stresses oneness and indissolubility of the resulting product.
    • a building in which modernism and classicism are fused

COALESCE Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of coalesce for English Language Learners

  • : to come together to form one group or mass

Medical Dictionary


intransitive verb co·alesce \ ˌkō-ə-ˈles \

medical Definition of coalesce

coalesced; coalescing
: to grow together


play \-ˈles-ᵊn(t)s\ noun

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