co·​her·​ence kō-ˈhir-ən(t)s How to pronounce coherence (audio) -ˈher- How to pronounce coherence (audio)
: the quality or state of cohering: such as
: systematic or logical connection or consistency
The essay as a whole lacks coherence.
: integration of diverse elements, relationships, or values
"The various parts of this house—discrete in color, in shape, in placement—join together with remarkable coherence."Paul Goldberger
: the property of being coherent
a plan that lacks coherence

Examples of coherence in a Sentence

the house has been expanded and remodeled so many times that now it's a jumbled mess that lacks coherence
Recent Examples on the Web But the book makes clear the limitations of the bottom-up approach: the cast of characters is so large, and their stories so intermingled, that the narrative lacks coherence. Peter Englund, Foreign Affairs, 24 Oct. 2023 The movie industry was never famous for fairness, transparency or honest accounting, but there was a coherence to its chaos. A.o. Scott, New York Times, 9 Oct. 2023 Answers have been lightly edited for flow and coherence. San Diego Union-Tribune, 5 Oct. 2023 That said, Singer’s indifference to coherence doesn’t entirely disabuse a viewer of staying the course. Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times, 29 Sep. 2023 The camera roll on your phone offers a similar promise, but creating a narrative with coherence depends on its finitude. Meghan O'Gieblyn, WIRED, 16 Aug. 2023 The plot’s strength is establishing these mysteries with refreshing coherence. Gene Park, Washington Post, 21 June 2023 In fact, many of the show’s men, when they are agitated, speak like children: their words forced out by the pressure of need, right on the edge of coherence. Sam Anderson, New York Times, 3 June 2023 In the resulting vacuum of information about the senator’s capabilities and coherence, little is known except her evident decline. David Lauter, Los Angeles Times, 8 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'coherence.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


coher(ent) + -ence, after Latin cohaerentia

First Known Use

circa 1580, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of coherence was circa 1580

Dictionary Entries Near coherence

Cite this Entry

“Coherence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Nov. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on coherence

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