co·​her·​ent | \ kō-ˈhir-ənt How to pronounce coherent (audio) , -ˈher- \

Definition of coherent

1a : logically or aesthetically ordered or integrated : consistent coherent style a coherent argument
b : having clarity or intelligibility : understandable a coherent person a coherent passage
2 : having the quality of holding together or cohering especially : cohesive, coordinated a coherent plan for action
3a : relating to or composed of waves having a constant difference in phase coherent light
b : producing coherent light a coherent source

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Other Words from coherent

coherently adverb

Examples of coherent in a Sentence

… the diaries and the novels demonstrate how a novelist tweaks and grooms reality into something more structured and coherent than life as it is lived. — Penelope Lively, Atlantic, February 2001 He is without a political agenda as he is without a coherent moral sensibility. — Joyce Carol Oates, Entertainment Weekly, 27 July 1990 At times, without my insisting on it, my writings become coherent; the successive elements that occur to me are clearly related. — William Stafford, Writing the Australian Crawl, 1978 This time the song was old, a pattern of rhythmic monosyllables which had lost coherent meaning somewhere in time. — Tony Hillerman, The Blessing Way, 1970 He proposed the most coherent plan to improve the schools. They are able to function as a coherent group.
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Recent Examples on the Web Shelters of the same color were grouped together to create a coherent sense of a village. Kelly Corbett, House Beautiful, "Los Angeles Just Opened a Tiny Home Village to House the Homeless," 12 Feb. 2021 Both of these arguments are coherent, the authors suggest. The Salt Lake Tribune, "Jana Riess: ‘Lo, a virgin shall conceive’ ... or not, depending on the translation," 18 Dec. 2020 To be sure, the US faces greater challenges than smaller nations in developing a coherent, nimble approach to retraining workers. Caroline Preston, Wired, "The Recession Exposes the US’ Failures on Worker Retraining," 1 Feb. 2021 The subjectiveness of our experience means that coherent analogies can be hard to find. New York Times, "What Can Covid-19 Teach Us About the Mysteries of Smell?," 28 Jan. 2021 But weaving those sometimes conflicting elements into a coherent foreign policy is never an easy task. Walter Russell Mead, WSJ, "Biden’s Opening Salvo on Beijing," 25 Jan. 2021 The effect was purposeful, collaborative, and coherent—we are not used to seeing political figures working together on something as simple and soothing as color blocking. Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, "Jewel Tones and Bernie Sanders’s Mittens: Inauguration Day Fashion 2021," 21 Jan. 2021 Democrats and Republicans appear to welcome a coherent federal policy, particularly with the distribution of vaccines that could help develop herd immunity and put the virus in decline. Dallas News, "Unifier or foil: Joe Biden ushers in new era for Texas Democrats, Republicans," 20 Jan. 2021 Critics see Hawley cobbling a coherent philosophy from the garbage of Trump’s grievance politics. Washington Post, "What does Josh Hawley think he’s doing?," 17 Jan. 2021

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

1557, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

History and Etymology for coherent

borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French coherent, borrowed from Latin cohaerent-, cohaerens "touching, adjacent, cohering," from present participle of cohaerēre "to cohere"

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Time Traveler for coherent

Time Traveler

The first known use of coherent was in 1557

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Last Updated

25 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Coherent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for coherent



English Language Learners Definition of coherent

: logical and well-organized : easy to understand
: able to talk or express yourself in a clear way that can be easily understood
: working closely and well together


co·​her·​ent | \ kō-ˈhir-ənt How to pronounce coherent (audio) , -ˈher- \

Kids Definition of coherent

1 : logical and well-organized a coherent speech
2 : to be able to speak well The accident left her shaken but coherent.

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