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

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 need for housing was urgent, as well as new kinds of social cohesion. Philip Kennicott, Washington Post, 17 May 2022 His goal was cultural cohesion—Truman had been a farmer and wowed locals by knowing how to judge the age of a horse by the arrangement of its teeth—but the president also pushed policy. John Dickerson, The Atlantic, 1 Mar. 2022 If there was some more cohesion between his pink cheetah-print jacket and her sparkly black jumpsuit with the blue sash, their outfits might've been cheekily charming. Scottie Andrew, CNN, 19 Feb. 2022 There is pleasant cohesion to his body of work, with its blend of bookish intellection and breezy verbal humor. The New Yorker, 13 Dec. 2021 There needs to be organizational cohesion; otherwise, that investment could be misplaced. John Cunningham, Forbes, 14 Sep. 2021 The Wings played with much more cohesion and jump in the second period. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, 20 Apr. 2022 The scene in the bakery isn’t a vision of perfect international cohesion. The New Yorker, 8 Apr. 2022 However, there has been a distinct lack of cohesion behind Fernandes, leaving the Portuguese exposed - it’s relatively easy to pass around a one-man press. Graham Ruthven, Forbes, 29 Oct. 2021 See More

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.

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

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The first known use of cohesion was in 1660

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Last Updated

22 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Cohesion.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for cohesion


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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