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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

The creative team also managed to turn the somewhat byzantine facts of the case into a coherent, lively tale that rarely sags. Ross Raihala, Twin Cities, "Review: History Theatre’s ‘Glensheen’ is as funny and fascinating as ever," 8 July 2019 Rather, their vision represents parts of a coherent ideology that sought to both maintain and reformulate key aspects of liberalism itself. Lily Geismer, Vox, "Democrats and neoliberalism," 11 June 2019 The intellectual effort to craft or divine a coherent Trumpist ideology didn't fare much better. Anchorage Daily News, "Trumpism is a psychology, not an ideology," 7 Mar. 2018 Once its key assets are listed in Amsterdam, Naspers will come under pressure to articulate a more coherent strategy. Stephen Wilmot, WSJ, "One of the Best Investments in History Becomes a Headache," 24 June 2019 And while the tensor product model is more intuitive — our mind’s eye tends to picture causal independence in terms of physical separation — the commuting operator model provides a more coherent mathematical framework. Quanta Magazine, "In Quantum Games, There’s No Way to Play the Odds," 1 Apr. 2019 For once, at any rate, a bunch of stock traders were more coherent than anything coming out of the Oval Office. Roger Lowenstein,, "When the president tanks your stock portfolio," 2 Apr. 2018 If groups of students or certain sects of society come forth with a coherent explanation for why a change is needed, it should be acted on rather quickly instead of mulled over through a much-too-long bureaucratic process. Mike Anthony,, "Mike Anthony: No reason not to change high school nicknames that are offensive or derogatory," 16 June 2019 Yet despite the sense of movement and haste, the painting is fully coherent. The New York Review of Books, "‘Tintoretto: Artist of Renaissance Venice’," 24 Mar. 2019

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.

See More

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"

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about coherent

Statistics for coherent

Last Updated

19 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for coherent

The first known use of coherent was in 1557

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on coherent

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with coherent

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for coherent

Spanish Central: Translation of coherent

Nglish: Translation of coherent for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of coherent for Arabic Speakers

Comments on coherent

What made you want to look up coherent? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something desired as essential

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!