co·​here | \ kō-ˈhir How to pronounce cohere (audio) \
cohered; cohering

Definition of cohere

intransitive verb

1a : to hold together firmly as parts of the same mass broadly : stick, adhere
b : to display cohesion of plant parts
2 : to hold together as a mass of parts that cohere
3a : to become united in principles, relationships, or interests
b : to be logically or aesthetically consistent

transitive verb

: to cause (parts or components) to cohere

Choose the Right Synonym for cohere

stick, adhere, cohere, cling, cleave mean to become closely attached. stick implies attachment by affixing or by being glued together. couldn't get the label to stick adhere is often interchangeable with stick but sometimes implies a growing together. antibodies adhering to a virus cohere suggests a sticking together of parts so that they form a unified mass. eggs will make the mixture cohere cling implies attachment by hanging on with arms or tendrils. clinging to a capsized boat cleave stresses strength of attachment. the wet shirt cleaved to his back

Cohere vs Adhere

When you finish writing a paper, you may feel that it coheres well, since it's sharply focused and all the ideas seem to support each other. When all the soldiers in an army platoon feel like buddies, the platoon has become a cohesive unit. In science class you may learn the difference between cohesion (the tendency of a chemical's molecules to stick together) and adhesion (the tendency of the molecules of two different substances to stick together). Water molecules tend to cohere, so water falls from the sky in drops, not as separate molecules. But water molecules also adhere to molecules of other substances, so raindrops will often cling to the underside of a clothesline for a while before gravity pulls them down.

Examples of cohere in a Sentence

the account in his journal coheres with the official report of the battle beset by personal animosities, the people of the neighborhood could not cohere into an effective civic association
Recent Examples on the Web Families cohere by keeping histories and telling stories — and conveying what the English have called heirlooms. New York Times, 17 June 2022 The book is a hodgepodge of short, quirky chapters that cohere as a quasi-narrative because Mr. Reilly structures them around his relationship with his father—which wasn’t at all pretty. John Paul Newport, WSJ, 27 May 2022 Event attendees ask why her narrative strands don’t cohere. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, 1 Apr. 2022 With considerable skill, Davies tries to weave these together with various transitional devices — musical, visual, verbal — but the sections don’t cohere. Mark Feeney,, 2 June 2022 These details don’t quite cohere into a whole, and the sons (Dane DeHaan and Patrick Schwarzenegger), especially, are thinly drawn. Washington Post, 5 May 2022 During the almost yearlong recording process, this notoriously fractious gang of four were able to put aside their differences, their competitiveness, and cohere better than ever. Alan Light, SPIN, 5 Mar. 2022 The screenplay may not cohere in ways designed to please the dream-logic-averse, but its wit is neatly matched by the wit of the visual landscapes. Michael Phillips,, 19 Feb. 2022 And as long as the rules are not interpreted rigidly, and morality is not understood strictly, rules and morality can cohere. Andrew Stark, WSJ, 17 Dec. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of cohere

1598, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for cohere

borrowed from Latin cohaerēre "to stick together, be in contact with, be connected," from co- co- + haerēre "to be closely attached, stick," going back to a stem *hais-, of obscure origin

Learn More About cohere

Dictionary Entries Near cohere




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for cohere

Last Updated

22 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Cohere.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Aug. 2022.

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

More from Merriam-Webster on cohere

Nglish: Translation of cohere for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cohere for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

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!