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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Did You Know?

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 Each cohort of students would have two teachers or staff supervising them on campus. Jill Tucker, San Francisco Chronicle, "S.F. seniors might go back to school for only one day before term ends. Parents are furious," 10 May 2021 Camps must limit use of cabins and tents to a single cohort of no more than 30. Jamie Goldberg, oregonlive, "Oregon will allow youth overnight camps to resume this summer," 7 May 2021 Visits will be scheduled by cohort, with incarcerated people grouped based on living units and programs, as an outbreak mitigation strategy, according to the DOC. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Ballpark bargain, beef passports, concerts for the vaccinated: News from around our 50 states," 7 May 2021 The Holdsworth Center’s fourth cohort will launch in 2023. Andres Picon, San Antonio Express-News, "East Central ISD to receive a five-year leadership boost: free training from the Holdsworth Center," 26 Apr. 2021 Alia’s cohort, comprising teen girls and gender nonconforming youth, put together a music video by the end of their two-week session in July. Los Angeles Times, "For young shredders at School of Rock, it’s finally time to melt faces again," 20 Apr. 2021 Male mice have a special sperm variant that poisons competitors in its ejaculatory cohort, but mice with too many such sperm are infertile. Rafil Kroll-zaidi, Harper's Magazine, "Findings," 27 Apr. 2021 Between the Area Sacra’s rich history and its contemporary cohort of cats, tourists have much to look forward to once renovations conclude next year. Gia Yetikyel, Smithsonian Magazine, "Site of Julius Caesar’s Assassination Will Be Transformed Into Open-Air Museum," 20 Apr. 2021 Students are assigned to either a morning or afternoon cohort and spend two hours in class on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. oregonlive, "Students of color get short shrift," 3 Apr. 2021

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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Last Updated

15 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Cohort.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 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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