in·​co·​her·​ent | \ ˌin-kō-ˈhir-ənt How to pronounce incoherent (audio) , -ˈher-\

Definition of incoherent

: lacking coherence: such as
a : lacking cohesion : loose
b : lacking orderly continuity, arrangement, or relevance : inconsistent an incoherent essay
c : lacking normal clarity or intelligibility in speech or thought incoherent with grief

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Other Words from incoherent

incoherently adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for incoherent


choppy, disconnected, disjointed, unconnected


coherent, connected

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Did You Know?

Something that is coherent holds or sticks together firmly, with resistance to separation (that is, it coheres). Coherent, ultimately from the Latin co- ("together") and haerēre ("to stick or cling"), entered English in the 16th century and almost from the beginning was used both of physical things ("coherent stone") and of things which hold together in a much less palpable way ("coherent thoughts"). Its antonym, incoherent, entered the language about three-quarters of a century later. Like coherent, incoherent can be applied to both the tangible and the intangible. But, whether we are speaking of sand or logic, all things incoherent have one thing in common: they do not hold together, literally or figuratively, in a unified or intelligible whole.

Examples of incoherent in a Sentence

The fever made her incoherent. He was very upset and practically incoherent after the accident. The memo is completely incoherent.
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Recent Examples on the Web

When the incoherent claps of a crowd suddenly become a pulse, as everyone starts clapping in unison, who decided? Quanta Magazine, "Scientists Discover Exotic New Patterns of Synchronization," 4 Apr. 2019 Truaxe continues to post sometimes rambling and incoherent posts on his own account. Cheryl Wischhover, Vox, "What the latest report on skin care company Deciem reveals about its troubled founder," 3 Dec. 2018 Other symptoms include incoherent speech, inappropriate behavior, and overall difficulty functioning. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "9 Things You Should Know About Taking Antipsychotic Drugs," 7 Dec. 2018 He’s angrily lashed out at fans on social media who have questioned his methods, expressed concern about his increasingly incoherent posts, or called him out for his sometimes brash communication style. Cheryl Wischhover, Vox, "Deciem’s Brandon Truaxe: the world’s most controversial beauty CEO, explained," 9 Oct. 2018 The reason is because Twitter has fewer resources at its disposal, and also its decision-making is often opaque and incoherent: Twitter Inc. is in a more precarious position than its larger competitors, though. Casey Newton, The Verge, "A conservative Facebook would probably fail — but Facebook should worry about it anyway," 31 Aug. 2018 Google’s current system is incoherent, seemingly unwilling to commit to gestures as the universal interface model. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "OnePlus 6T review: revised formula, same results," 29 Oct. 2018 Coming out dazed and incoherent is common for many ice swimmers, Barkai says. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "All About Ice Swimming, the Extreme Sport Where Athletes Compete in Sub-Freezing Water," 23 Aug. 2018 Barkley mumbled something entirely incoherent, which the President took as a no, and beckoned for Barkley to come walk with him. Beck Dorey-stein,, "Charles Barkley was star-struck before interviewing president Obama. A stenographer from Narberth calmed him down," 2 July 2018

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

1599, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for incoherent

Last Updated

19 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for incoherent

The first known use of incoherent was in 1599

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More Definitions for incoherent



English Language Learners Definition of incoherent

: not able to talk or express yourself in a clear way that can be easily understood
: not logical or well-organized : not easy to understand


in·​co·​her·​ent | \ ˌin-kō-ˈhir-ənt How to pronounce incoherent (audio) \

Kids Definition of incoherent

: not connected in a clear or logical way He was so upset, his speech was incoherent.

Other Words from incoherent

incoherently adverb


in·​co·​her·​ent | \ -ənt How to pronounce incoherent (audio) \

Medical Definition of incoherent

: lacking clarity or intelligibility usually by reason of some emotional stress incoherent speech

Other Words from incoherent

incoherently adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on incoherent

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for incoherent

Spanish Central: Translation of incoherent

Nglish: Translation of incoherent for Spanish Speakers

Comments on incoherent

What made you want to look up incoherent? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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