co·​gent | \ˈkō-jənt \

Definition of cogent 

1a : appealing forcibly to the mind or reason : convincing cogent evidence

b : pertinent, relevant a cogent analysis

2 : having power to compel or constrain cogent forces

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Other Words from cogent

cogently adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for cogent

valid, sound, cogent, convincing, telling mean having such force as to compel serious attention and usually acceptance. valid implies being supported by objective truth or generally accepted authority. a valid reason for being absent a valid marriage sound implies a basis of flawless reasoning or of solid grounds. a sound proposal for reviving the economy cogent may stress either weight of sound argument and evidence or lucidity of presentation. the prosecutor's cogent summation won over the jury convincing suggests a power to overcome doubt, opposition, or reluctance to accept. a convincing argument for welfare reform telling stresses an immediate and crucial effect striking at the heart of a matter. a telling example of bureaucratic waste

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Trained, knowledgeable agents make cogent suggestions . . . that make sense to customers. It makes sense for us to include that comment from the president of a direct marketing consulting company because it provides such a nice opportunity to point out the etymological relationship between the words "cogent" and "agent." Agent derives from the Latin verb agere, which means "to drive," "to lead," or "to act." Adding the prefix co- to "agere" gave Latin cogere, a word that literally means "to drive together"; that ancient term ultimately gave English "cogent." Something that is cogent figuratively pulls together thoughts and ideas, and the cogency of an argument depends on the driving intellectual force behind it.

Examples of cogent in a Sentence

… Honeyboy Edwards provides a cogent analysis of the shift within the blues over the years … — David Hajdu, Mother Jones, September/October 2003 Your article provides cogent reading. — Mario Cuomo, letter U.S. News & World Report23 Mar. 1992 Your arguments, whether or not one agrees with them, are generally cogent, and at times elegantly expressed. — Willard R. Espy, letter Wall Street Journal24 Apr. 1990 The author … makes a cogent and finely nuanced case for the wisdom—indeed, the necessity of this vision. — Marian Sandmaier, New York Times Book Review, 8 Feb. 1987 the results of the DNA fingerprinting were the most cogent evidence for acquittal
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Recent Examples on the Web

In our hour-long interview, the CEO gave cogent and detailed answers to all my technical questions. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Why millions of lasers on a chip could be the future of lidar," 8 Nov. 2018 Sometimes people will argue, hey, that's not really a cogent part of the discussion. Fox News, "'Angel moms' weigh in on the immigration debate," 24 Aug. 2018 There may be cogent answers to this and related questions, but Mr. Buckley’s buoyant polemic doesn’t stop to consider them. Barton Swaim, WSJ, "Review: Corrupting the Body Politic," 14 Dec. 2017 Choices here may reflect his gallery’s aesthetic: cogent, skewed, color-charged, fastidious, and sometimes darkly wacky., "The week ahead: music, theater, art, and more," 13 July 2018 Smoothly interspersed are cogent explanations of the confusing geopolitical and religious forces at work. Susan Faust, San Francisco Chronicle, "Roundup of new children’s books, March 25," 22 Mar. 2018 After the sluggish and superfluous Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, writer-director George Lucas finds his lightsaber once again for this dramatically cogent and highly satisfying finale to the Star Wars saga. Steve Heisler, Chicago Reader, "Archive Dive / Arts / Film May the fourth be with you, even if the Reader's critics rarely become one with the force," 4 May 2018 The analyses and descriptions are consistently cogent and valuable (not always the case in the series). Mark Feeney,, "Painting a portrait of Cézanne as portrait painter," 10 Apr. 2018 But what this distinguished professor of history at CUNY’s Queens College does is lay out two centuries of factory production all over the world in ways that are accessible, cogent, occasionally riveting and thoroughly new. Beth Macy, New York Times, "We Are What We Manufacture," 9 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cogent.' 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 cogent

1659, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for cogent

Latin cogent-, cogens, present participle of cogere to drive together, collect, from co- + agere to drive — more at agent

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Last Updated

18 Nov 2018

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The first known use of cogent was in 1659

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English Language Learners Definition of cogent

: very clear and easy for the mind to accept and believe

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More from Merriam-Webster on cogent

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Spanish Central: Translation of cogent

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Britannica English: Translation of cogent for Arabic Speakers

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