co·​her·​ent | \kō-ˈhir-ənt, -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

The lack of a coherent response to Iran in the Syrian theater makes this task all the more urgent, and admittedly, difficult, for U.S. national security planners. Behnam Ben Taleblu, Fortune, "Commentary: How Trump Can Neutralize Assad in Syria," 13 Apr. 2018 But the absurdity and lack of coherent leadership couldn't be more relevant. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "Here are the best movies of 2018 (so far)," 11 July 2018 This Is John,’’ about a man struggling to record a coherent answering machine message, for just $3 — the cost of a blank tape. Sonia Rao,, "How the Duplass brothers have worked together for almost 40 years without killing each other," 24 May 2018 But at some level, government needs to formulate and then implement, via regulation and economic incentives, a coherent national energy strategy that will stand the test of time. WSJ, "Government Is Bad at Picking Energy Winners," 13 June 2018 But Election Year is a more coherent thriller that echoes classic neo-exploitation films like Escape from New York, as an anti-Purge politician tries to survive an assassination attempt. Tasha Robinson, The Verge, "10 subversive, dark American futures to stream on July 4th," 4 July 2018 The chocolate melted delightfully, completely goopy at one end and still slightly coherent at the end that got marshmallowed slightly later. Evelyn Lamb, Smithsonian, "The Scientific Quest For the Perfect S’more," 13 July 2018 Simultaneously, Moshfegh’s sentences are sharp and coherent. Walton Muyumba,, "Detachment and dreaming in 'My Year of Rest and Relaxation' by Ottessa Moshfegh," 12 July 2018 When paramedics arrived, the woman was breathing and conscious, although not coherent, Holm said. Jane Ford-stewart, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Lifeguard saves woman from nearly drowning at the Southwest YMCA in Greenfield," 22 June 2018

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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Statistics for coherent

Last Updated

8 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for coherent

The first known use of coherent was in 1557

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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, -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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