co·​her·​ence | \ kō-ˈhir-ən(t)s, -ˈher- \

Definition of coherence 

1 : the quality or state of cohering: such as
a : systematic or logical connection or consistency The essay as a whole lacks coherence.
b : 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
2 : the property of being coherent a plan that lacks coherence

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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

There may not be method to Mr. Riley’s madness, but there is a measure of coherence, of intellectual discipline, to his wildness. New York Times, "Review: ‘Sorry to Bother You,’ but Can I Interest You in a Wild Dystopian Satire?," 2 July 2018 The critic keeps suggesting novelistic conventions, trying to impose coherence and resolution on Eleanor’s journey. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Fiction: Summits, Abysses and the Nowheres in Between," 23 Aug. 2018 Forget raw and pure: Wamariya’s quest is to create some semblance of moral and emotional coherence out of a life that too often feels like a self-corroding performance. Ann Hulbert, The Atlantic, "The Girl Who Smiled Beads Defies Easy Uplift," 24 Apr. 2018 Desperately seeking coherence, the author blunders into a binary world-view, divided between civilized softies and pugnacious primitives, wallers and warriors. Felipe Fernández-armesto, WSJ, "‘Walls: A History of Civilization in Blood and Brick’ Review: . . . and Stay Out!," 13 Sep. 2018 Trump continues to tweet, unconstrained by conventional ideas about reality, truth, or coherence. Dara Lind, Vox, "Trump just tweeted out a cryptic video of people getting money in Spanish," 18 Oct. 2018 The two-stage AI system takes a more human-like approach to analyzing patients' optical coherence tomography (OCT) scans of their retinas. Christopher Carbone, Fox News, "AI tool 'as good as experts' at detecting eye problems, scientists say," 14 Aug. 2018 In this case, the data is 3D scans of patients’ eyes made using a technique known as optical coherence tomography, or OCT. James Vincent, The Verge, "DeepMind’s AI can detect over 50 eye diseases as accurately as a doctor," 13 Aug. 2018 This imaging technique is called optical coherence tomography. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Metamaterial-equipped endoscope reveals your innermost secrets," 4 Aug. 2018

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

circa 1580, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for coherence

coher(ent) + -ence, after Latin cohaerentia

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Statistics for coherence

Last Updated

16 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for coherence

The first known use of coherence was circa 1580

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Comments on coherence

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marked by shyness and lack of polish

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