co·​hort | \ ˈkō-ˌhȯrt How to pronounce cohort (audio) \

Definition of cohort

1 : companion, colleague a few of their … cohorts decided to form a company— Burt Hochberg
2a : band, group a cohort of supporters
b : a group of individuals having a statistical factor (such as age or class membership) in common in a demographic study a cohort of premedical students the cohort of people born in the 1980s
c : one of 10 divisions of an ancient Roman legion
d : a group of warriors or soldiers

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In ancient times, a cohort was a military unit, one of ten divisions in a Roman legion. The term passed into English via French in the 15th century, when it was used in translations and writings about Roman history. Once cohort became established in our language, its meaning was extended, first to refer to any body of troops, then to any group of individuals with something in common, and later to a single companion. Some usage commentators have objected to this last sense because it can be hard to tell whether the plural refers to different individuals or different groups. The companion sense is well established in standard use, however, and its meaning is clear enough in such sentences as her cohorts came along with her to the game.

Examples of cohort in a Sentence

The police arrested the gang's leader and his cohorts. Depression was a common problem for people in that age cohort.
Recent Examples on the Web That compares to 19% among those 25 to 34 and 38% for the 35 to 54 cohort. Next Avenue, Forbes, 4 June 2021 The organization is currently accepting applications for a second cohort that will begin later this year. Nick Williams, Star Tribune, 6 Apr. 2021 The greater choice is a boon for the growing cohort of specialist funds with ethical mandates, yet also creates more due diligence in an asset class already lacking clarity thanks to a lack of uniform standards. Greg Ritchie, Fortune, 27 Mar. 2021 Vista Community Clinic is preparing to accept applications for the 10th cohort of its Medical Assistant Training Program that will start in the summer. Laura Groch, San Diego Union-Tribune, 25 Mar. 2021 Advertisers will receive an identifier for a cohort rather than for the individuals within it. Alexandra Bruell, WSJ, 16 Mar. 2021 James has also been signed as a brand partner for Sephora’s new cohort, the 2021 Accelerate program, which uniquely features only BIPOC brands. Katie Intner, Harper's BAZAAR, 12 Feb. 2021 High among them is how to support and care for a new cohort of chronically ill Americans, possibly numbering in the millions. Alexander Zaitchik, The New Republic, 2 Feb. 2021 Between March 1 and July 31 of this year, nearly 12,000 more people in this age group died than the number of deaths anticipated for the cohort (just over 64,000). Popular Science, 22 Dec. 2020

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2c

History and Etymology for cohort

Middle English, from Latin cohort-, cohors — more at court

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Time Traveler for cohort

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The first known use of cohort was in the 15th century

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Statistics for cohort

Last Updated

8 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Cohort.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for cohort



English Language Learners Definition of cohort

often disapproving : a friend or companion
technical : a group of people used in a study who have something (such as age or social class) in common


co·​hort | \ ˈkō-ˌhȯ(ə)rt How to pronounce cohort (audio) \

Medical Definition of cohort

: a group of individuals having a statistical factor (as age or risk) in common the population consisted of two cohorts: 204 clearly exposed and 163 not exposed— R. R. Suskind et al.


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