adjective co·gent \ ˈkō-jənt \
|Updated on: 1 Jul 2018

Definition of cogent

1 a : 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



cogent was our Word of the Day on 09/24/2009. Hear the podcast!

Examples of cogent in a Sentence

  1. … Honeyboy Edwards provides a cogent analysis of the shift within the blues over the years … —David HajduMother JonesSeptember/October 2003
  2. Your article provides cogent reading. —Mario Cuomoletter U.S. News & World Report23 Mar. 1992
  3. Your arguments, whether or not one agrees with them, are generally cogent, and at times elegantly expressed. —Willard R. Espyletter Wall Street Journal24 Apr. 1990
  4. The author … makes a cogent and finely nuanced case for the wisdom—indeed, the necessity of this vision. —Marian SandmaierNew York Times Book Review8 Feb. 1987
  5. the results of the DNA fingerprinting were the most cogent evidence for acquittal

Recent Examples of cogent from the Web

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.

Did You Know?

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.

Origin and Etymology of cogent

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

Synonym Discussion of 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

COGENT Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of cogent for English Language Learners

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

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to grant as a privilege or special favor

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