co·​gent | \ ˈkō-jənt How to pronounce cogent (audio) \

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

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

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.

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Cooking shows were still grasping for a cogent identity in those days. Mayukh Sen, The Atlantic, 16 Nov. 2021 Too wasted and distracted to make a cogent argument. Judy Gold, CNN, 12 Nov. 2021 Which never really seemed like a very cogent argument to me but has become a cliché. Justin Davidson And Alissa Walker, Curbed, 5 Oct. 2021 The hashtag #RushTok, which dominated TikTok heavily last month, served as a cogent reminder of the hazing violence, exclusionary practices, and protests that have happened within the fraternity and sorority community. Kevin L. Clark, Essence, 23 Sep. 2021 The Democratic Party reigns in California largely because its Republicans have long since ceased to offer cogent or even respectable solutions to its many problems. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 22 Sep. 2021 Philbrick’s reporting is cogent and impressively detailed as long as Washington remains the central character. Washington Post, 17 Sep. 2021 The mandate has a cogent rationale; your company’s scofflaw managers aren’t merely behaving irresponsibly toward their employees and their families (including unvaccinated children) but are weakening a norm. Kwame Anthony Appiah, New York Times, 17 Aug. 2021 The lyrics are too cogent and the melodies too distinct and succinct for that. Chris Willman, Variety, 19 Aug. 2021

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.

See More

First Known Use of cogent

1659, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for cogent

borrowed from Latin cōgent-, cōgens, present participle of cōgere "to drive together, gather, compress, force, compel," from co-, variant before a vowel and h of com- com- + agere "to drive (cattle), be in motion, do" — more at agent

Learn More About cogent

Listen to Our Podcast About cogent

Dictionary Entries Near cogent




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for cogent

Last Updated

20 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Cogent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2021.

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

More Definitions for cogent



English Language Learners Definition of cogent

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

More from Merriam-Webster on cogent

Nglish: Translation of cogent for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cogent for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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