co·​here | \ kō-ˈhir How to pronounce cohere (audio) \
cohered; cohering

Definition of cohere

intransitive verb

1a : to hold together firmly as parts of the same mass broadly : stick, adhere
b : to display cohesion of plant parts
2 : to hold together as a mass of parts that cohere
3a : to become united in principles, relationships, or interests
b : to be logically or aesthetically consistent

transitive verb

: to cause (parts or components) to cohere

Keep scrolling for more

Choose the Right Synonym for cohere

stick, adhere, cohere, cling, cleave mean to become closely attached. stick implies attachment by affixing or by being glued together. couldn't get the label to stick adhere is often interchangeable with stick but sometimes implies a growing together. antibodies adhering to a virus cohere suggests a sticking together of parts so that they form a unified mass. eggs will make the mixture cohere cling implies attachment by hanging on with arms or tendrils. clinging to a capsized boat cleave stresses strength of attachment. the wet shirt cleaved to his back

Cohere vs Adhere

When you finish writing a paper, you may feel that it coheres well, since it's sharply focused and all the ideas seem to support each other. When all the soldiers in an army platoon feel like buddies, the platoon has become a cohesive unit. In science class you may learn the difference between cohesion (the tendency of a chemical's molecules to stick together) and adhesion (the tendency of the molecules of two different substances to stick together). Water molecules tend to cohere, so water falls from the sky in drops, not as separate molecules. But water molecules also adhere to molecules of other substances, so raindrops will often cling to the underside of a clothesline for a while before gravity pulls them down.

Examples of cohere in a Sentence

the account in his journal coheres with the official report of the battle beset by personal animosities, the people of the neighborhood could not cohere into an effective civic association
Recent Examples on the Web For the girlboss theory of the universe to cohere, women have to be inherently good and moral creatures, or at least inherently better than men. Amanda Mull, The Atlantic, "What Comes After the Girlboss?," 25 June 2020 In that, an implicit lesson: The very existence of I Am ALS could dilute the movement Brian and Sandra were trying to cohere. Brian Barrett, Wired, "My Friend Was Struck by ALS. Here’s How He’s Fighting Back," 23 June 2020 The process The first element to consider is the ice: Its shape and size must cohere with the drink’s type of dilution, temperature, and texture—while also serving an aesthetic purpose. Danielle Bernabe, Fortune, "When the white gloves come off: Behind the scenes at one of London’s most historic and upscale hotel bars," 12 Feb. 2020 There’s certainly no faulting the show for lack of ambition, but for all the frequently dazzling intellectual and theatrical showmanship on display, the evening never coheres in satisfying fashion. Jessica Gelt, Los Angeles Times, "‘Soft Power’ reviews at the Public Theater veer from ‘revolutionary’ to ‘nonsense’," 16 Oct. 2019 The crowd complaining loudest about the inadequacy of the current ways of ordering our politics has yet to cohere around a single alternative. Daniel Foster, National Review, "Fictions of the Right," 19 Dec. 2019 And finally, as this bizarre story expands like the Big Bang, sections start to cohere around what are essentially theological themes. Ron Charles, Washington Post, "A.R. Moxon’s ‘The Revisionaries’ might be the weirdest novel of the year," 3 Dec. 2019 The more scientists who are on the hunt for the fifth force, the more likely their research will all eventually cohere into one explanation. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "The Fifth Force of Nature Could Be Real and Fantastic," 20 Nov. 2019 But the plot that’s supposed to hold them all together defiantly refuses to cohere. Ross Douthat, National Review, "The Lighthouse’s Maritime Mythology Doesn’t Deliver," 7 Nov. 2019

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

1598, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for cohere

borrowed from Latin cohaerēre "to stick together, be in contact with, be connected," from co- co- + haerēre "to be closely attached, stick," going back to a stem *hais-, of obscure origin

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cohere

Time Traveler for cohere

Time Traveler

The first known use of cohere was in 1598

See more words from the same year

Statistics for cohere

Cite this Entry

“Cohere.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for cohere


How to pronounce cohere (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of cohere

formal : to be combined or united in a logical and effective way

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on cohere

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Here Be Dragons: A Creature Identification Quiz

  • monster werewolf photo
  • Which is a synonym of werewolf?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

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!