co·​he·​sion | \kō-ˈhē-zhən \

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

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Other Words from cohesion

cohesionless \ kō-​ˈhē-​zhən-​ləs \ 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

One of Putin's long-term goals is to weaken the cohesion of the West, a process being accelerated by the current tensions. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "Trump flips US foreign policy upside down," 7 June 2018 But there was a choppiness too from one section to the next, and a lack of cohesion among the scenes that prevented a deeper impression. Laura Bleiberg,, "Barak Ballet at the Broad Stage: New moves for a company on the verge," 1 July 2018 Knobs on a nightstand like the one pictured below contribute to a sense of cohesion. Devin Alessio, ELLE Decor, "5 Ideas For A Gender Neutral Nursery Your Little One Will Love," 28 July 2016 But just as offense requires cohesion, so defense needs to be unified, too. Bill Livingston,, "Cleveland Cavaliers 2018: LeBron's triple-double flashback -- Bill Livingston (photos)," 5 Mar. 2018 There is a cohesion in the program that holds the exhibition together, too. Charles Desmarais,, "Summer exhibition at Hosfelt Gallery a monstrous affair," 6 July 2018 Another factor in favor of alliance cohesion is that each side needs the other to ensure common prosperity and security. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "Trump flips US foreign policy upside down," 7 June 2018 The awkward part comes off the field, a disruption to the family cohesion. Sam Mcdowell, kansascity, "His dad is the Raiders GM. But the Chiefs' newest lineman is ‘excited’ to be in red | The Kansas City Star," 6 May 2018 There’s no correlation between cohesion and groupthink. Recode Staff, Recode, "Full transcript: Professor, psychologist and author Adam Grant on Recode Decode," 5 July 2018

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.

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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

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Statistics for cohesion

Last Updated

10 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cohesion

The first known use of cohesion was in 1660

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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 \

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 \

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

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