co·​he·​sive kō-ˈhē-siv How to pronounce cohesive (audio)
: exhibiting or producing cohesion or coherence
a cohesive social unit
cohesive soils
the cohesive property of clay
cohesively adverb
cohesiveness noun

Did you know?

Cohesive describes something that sticks together literally or figuratively. To get into the stickiness of the matter, look at the word's etymology: cohesive ultimately derives from Latin haerere, meaning "to stick." Other descendants of haerere in English include adhere (literally meaning "to stick"), its relative adhesive (a word for a substance for sticking things together), inhere (meaning "to belong by nature or habit"), and even hesitate (which implies remaining stuck in place before taking action). Haerere also teamed up with the prefix co- to form cohaerere, an ancestor of cohesive, cohesion ("a sticking together"), cohere ("to stick together"), and coherent ("able to stick together" or "logically consistent").

Examples of cohesive in a Sentence

Their tribe is a small but cohesive group. Religion can be used as a cohesive social force.
Recent Examples on the Web Alba’s cohesive combo looks comfy enough to be a matching pajama set, but her strappy neon heels, hoop earrings, and colorful crossbody bag dress it up. Claire Harmeyer, Peoplemag, 7 Sep. 2023 Make these dressy no-carve pumpkins with just a few materials and place them all over the house for a cohesive look. Southern Living Editors, Southern Living, 4 Sep. 2023 Its full-body coverage and tailored fit concoct a cohesive appearance that requires little fuss while running errands, or attending dinner soirees. Cortne Bonilla, Vogue, 4 Sep. 2023 The trade-off is that they’re far removed from any sort of cohesive artistic community. Ned Resnikoff, The New Republic, 2 Sep. 2023 The Kendrick Mini Trunk Bag is holding all of Monét’s essentials and provides a cohesive accessory that also pairs well with her outfit. Kerane Marcellus, Essence, 30 Aug. 2023 The second episode features the tag team challenge, in which the cooks still in the kitchen will take turns making a three-course meal, working together to deliver a cohesive meal. Kturnqui, oregonlive, 23 Aug. 2023 Like many of our favorite vehicles, the Tiguan’s cohesive real-world personality and general on-the-road poise belie its statistical limitations, including a rather languid 9.1-second zero-to-60-mph time as extracted by our test drivers. Andrew Wendler, Car and Driver, 21 Aug. 2023 While the United States has long been allied with Japan and South Korea individually, historic animosities between Tokyo and Seoul stemming most acutely from Japan’s brutal 35-year occupation of the Korean Peninsula have frustrated American efforts to knit the three into a cohesive partnership. Peter Baker, New York Times, 18 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cohesive.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin cohaesus, past participle of cohaerēre "to stick together, cohere" + -ive

First Known Use

circa 1731, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cohesive was circa 1731


Dictionary Entries Near cohesive

Cite this Entry

“Cohesive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Sep. 2023.

Medical Definition


co·​he·​sive kō-ˈhē-siv, -ziv How to pronounce cohesive (audio)
: exhibiting or producing cohesion
cohesively adverb
cohesiveness noun
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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