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

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Other Words from cohesion

cohesionless \ kō-​ˈhē-​zhən-​ləs How to pronounce cohesionless (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 As its founder, Shabalala, led Ladysmith Black Mambazo into prominence, the group has played a significant role in promoting social cohesion through the arts. Farai Shawn Matiashe, Quartz Africa, "Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s Joseph Shabalala brought traditional Zulu music to the world," 11 Feb. 2020 Prince William and Duchess Kate also returned to royal business Wednesday, traveling to Bradford, a racially and culturally diverse city in northern England, to visit people and projects promoting social cohesion. Sara M Moniuszko, USA TODAY, "Hugh Grant defends Prince Harry, says tabloids 'effectively murdered' Princess Diana," 16 Jan. 2020 And many of their actions encouraged urban sprawl, creating no end of environmental, transportation and social cohesion problems. Greg Jefferson,, "Jefferson: S.A.’s Frost Tower shakes up the skyline and the old order," 27 Dec. 2019 To maintain social and political cohesion, government must compensate the losers. Washington Post, "Europe’s Green Deal Is Great, Unless It’s a Backdoor to a Planned Economy," 11 Dec. 2019 All of this while never losing the cohesion of their ensemble unit. Maureen Lee Lenker,, "Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake," 6 Dec. 2019 The cohesion of the protest movement is backed up by polls conducted by the Chinese University of Hong Kong showing that over 50% of people (link in Chinese) distrust the police and the government. Isabella Steger, Quartz, "Hong Kong’s “referendum” has voted deafeningly for democracy—and against Beijing," 25 Nov. 2019 There is the Campbell’s-brand block, to use the industry jargon; everything has a comforting cohesion. James Lileks, National Review, "This Soup for You," 7 Nov. 2019 As the calendar turns, the absurdly young Warriors will find some cohesion. Bruce Jenkins,, "Warriors’ Curry hurt: What now?," 31 Oct. 2019

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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Time Traveler for cohesion

Time Traveler

The first known use of cohesion was in 1660

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Statistics for cohesion

Last Updated

17 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cohesion.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for cohesion


How to pronounce cohesion (audio)

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

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