co·​he·​sion | \ kō-ˈhē-zhən How to pronounce cohesion (audio) \

Definition of cohesion

1 : the act or state of sticking together tightly especially : unity the lack of cohesion in the Party The Times Literary Supplement (London) cohesion among soldiers in a unit
2 : union between similar plant parts or organs
3 : molecular attraction by which the particles of a body are united throughout the mass

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from cohesion

cohesionless \ kō-​ˈhē-​zhən-​ləs How to pronounce cohesion (audio) \ adjective

Did You Know?

Cohesion is one of the noun forms of cohere; the others are cohesiveness and coherence, each of which has a slightly different meaning. Coherence is often used to describe a person's speech or writing. An incoherent talk or blog post is one that doesn't "hang together;" and if the police pick up someone who they describe as incoherent, it means he or she isn't making sense. But to describe a group or team that always sticks together, you would use cohesive, not coherent. And the words you'd use in Chemistry class to describe the way molecules hang together—for example, the way water forms into beads and drops—are cohesion, cohesive, and cohesiveness.

Examples of cohesion in a Sentence

There was a lack of cohesion in the rebel army.
Recent Examples on the Web The equilibrium between cohesion and individual happiness varies between cultures and families. Jen Rose Smith, CNN, "Family rifts seem on the rise. Here's why they happen and how to cope," 24 Feb. 2021 An on-the-ground view of Wednesday’s protest shows the lack of cohesion, the divergent ideas of what constitutes free speech in Portland and the turbulence of the crowd. oregonlive, "‘What are we marching for?’ Protesters and observers wonder alike in Portland," 22 Jan. 2021 Too often, the group demonstrated a startling lack of cohesion. Michael Gehlken, Dallas News, "Cowboys hire Joe Whitt Jr. to coach secondary, improve staff cohesion," 13 Jan. 2021 President-elect Joe Biden is rapidly assembling a team of Washington hands with deep experience, projecting an image of cohesion that stands in contrast with the savage infighting often at play around President Donald Trump. John Fritze, USA TODAY, "Jockeying for jobs: Tensions simmer inside Biden transition as new administration takes shape," 3 Dec. 2020 But the government’s cohesion proved illusory as soon as major decisions had to be made that went beyond managing the immediate public-health crisis. Marcus Walker, WSJ, "Italy’s Prime Minister Conte to Resign Amid Struggle Against Covid-19 and Recession," 25 Jan. 2021 There were moments of sloppiness, miscommunication and even confusion as Brooklyn's players tried to find some cohesion in Harden's third game. Tom Withers,, "Kyrie Irving returns, but new-look Nets beaten by Cavaliers in double overtime," 20 Jan. 2021 Ward and his siblings immediately turned to the Alzheimer’s Association to find resources, and despite the devastating realities of the diagnosis, the collective effort has resulted in greater family cohesion. cleveland, "‘A Christmas Story’ actor returns to Cleveland to spread awareness of Alzheimer’s disease," 28 Dec. 2020 The year the programs were unified to create cohesion in the program, while expanding to every state, allowing for the creation of a national recognition effort. USA TODAY, "USA TODAY Sports Network launches new regional, state and national high school sports awards programs," 27 Nov. 2020

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

1660, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cohesion

borrowed from New Latin cohaesiōn-, cohaesiō (Medieval Latin, "proximity contact"), from Latin cohaes-, variant stem of cohaerēre "to stick together, cohere" + -iōn-, -iō -ion

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cohesion

Time Traveler for cohesion

Time Traveler

The first known use of cohesion was in 1660

See more words from the same year

Statistics for cohesion

Last Updated

27 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Cohesion.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for cohesion



English Language Learners Definition of cohesion

: a condition in which people or things are closely united


co·​he·​sion | \ kō-ˈhē-zhən How to pronounce cohesion (audio) \

Kids Definition of cohesion

1 : the action of sticking together
2 : the force of attraction between the molecules in a mass


co·​he·​sion | \ kō-ˈhē-zhən How to pronounce cohesion (audio) \

Medical Definition of cohesion

1 : the act or process of sticking together tightly
2 : the molecular attraction by which the particles of a body are united throughout the mass — compare adhesion sense 3

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on cohesion

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


Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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