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

Definition of incoherent

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

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Other Words from incoherent

incoherently adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for incoherent



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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 To call Trump's response to COVID chaotic and incoherent doesn't do it justice. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "Trump “officially” takes US out of WHO, but withdrawal is a year-long process," 7 July 2020 But his official response, a toothless and incoherent executive order, inadvertently proved that Trump had little leverage over the platforms. Gilad Edelman, Wired, "Social Media Drops the Hammer on Team Trump," 29 June 2020 Officer Laurenti’s body-cam video shows her return to the scene and see Angerstien exhibiting signs of mental distress, making incoherent statements and sobbing, the lawsuit says. Robin Goist, cleveland, "Springfield Township police, Summit County deputies sued by father of man in mental distress who died after altercation with officers," 19 June 2020 During this interim phase, liberals and conservatives inhabited both Democratic and Republican parties, and parties were nationally incoherent as a result. Lee Drutman, The New Republic, "How Democracy Dies at the Ballot Box," 18 June 2020 For this group, technology is politics, and seeing the two at odds becomes incoherent. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "The Silence of the Never Facebookers," 10 June 2020 When the soldiers had gone, Mr. Khosa became increasingly incoherent, vomiting and struggling to speak, according to court papers filed by the family. Ryan Lenora Brown, The Christian Science Monitor, "An ocean apart, similar stories: US protests hit home in South Africa," 8 June 2020 When the footage begins, the officer wearing the bodycam steps out of a patrol car and addresses a man, who appears to be disoriented and incoherent, walking on a residential street. Dakin Andone, CNN, "A Virginia police officer faces charges after using a stun gun on a black man who cried, 'I can't breathe'," 7 June 2020 There are no assault charges at this time since the second involved party was incoherent and unable to provide any statement about what happened. Houston Chronicle, "Bellaire Police Department weekly report," 25 May 2020

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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Time Traveler for incoherent

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The first known use of incoherent was in 1599

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Last Updated

20 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Incoherent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for incoherent


How to pronounce incoherent (audio)

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

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