syn·​er·​gy | \ˈsi-nər-jē \
plural synergies

Definition of synergy 

1 : synergism broadly : combined action or operation

2 : a mutually advantageous conjunction or compatibility of distinct business participants or elements (such as resources or efforts)

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Did You Know?

An old saying, "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts", expresses the basic meaning of synergy. The word is sometimes used in a purely physical sense, especially when talking about drugs; sometimes a "cocktail" of drugs may be more effective than the sum of the effectiveness of each of the separate drugs. But the word is best known in the world of business. The notion that, when the right two companies merge, they'll produce a profitable synergy seemed exciting in the 1990s, when synergy became a trendy buzzword (even though it's actually been around since the 17th century). The idea of synergy was one factor in what became a "merger mania;" unfortunately, business synergy often turned out to be harder to achieve than to imagine.

Examples of synergy in a Sentence

A synergy has developed among the different groups working on this project. two companies that have found synergy

Recent Examples on the Web

Other factors could come into play: anticipated pedestrian traffic, synergy with nearby businesses, a commitment to improve the storefront, matching funds from a landlord or community. Jon Chesto,, "Lawmakers hope tax credits can help fill vacant storefronts," 9 July 2018 Meet The Bug Burger—a spin of the traditional burger recipe that creates a synergy between new ingredients and old classics. Shannon Barbour, Cosmopolitan, "IKEA Has Gone Too Far With Its New Bug-Filled Food Options," 13 Mar. 2018 Smith: Having synergy between the front Office (Scouting Department) and coaches (Scheme) is the first key. Stephanie Stradley, Houston Chronicle, "Stephanie Stradley’s Texans Q&A with Wade Smith," 1 Mar. 2018 One of the fun things about (Phillips) is his great synergy with my flexitarian motto (a diet philosophy that’s vegetable-focused but occasionally includes meat and fish). Phil Vettel,, "New chef at Found Kitchen, more changes hinted," 23 May 2018 This idea seems radical — even to lawyers advocating antitrust enforcement against Google — since the modern media and technology business is built on an idea of synergy that took hold in the 1990s. Robert Levine,, "Google is hugely powerful. Is antitrust law up to the job?," 13 June 2018 Analysts also have argued the potential distribution synergies are more limited with Blue Buffalo, which is mainly sold in pet stores and online. Aaron Back, WSJ, "The Right Way for Food Companies to Buy Their Way to Growth," 6 June 2018 From the start, there was an unusual synergy between fans, including music fans, and the developing world of networked computing. Nancy Baym, WIRED, "Book Excerpt: How Music Fans Built the Internet," 10 July 2018 There’s no doubt there may be synergies and efficiencies and potentially better products that might benefit consumers. James B. Stewart, New York Times, "How the Government Could Win the AT&T-Time Warner Case," 31 May 2018

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

1632, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for synergy

New Latin synergia, from Greek synergos working together

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Statistics for synergy

Last Updated

11 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for synergy

The first known use of synergy was in 1632

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More Definitions for synergy



Financial Definition of synergy

What It Is

Synergy is the benefit that results when two or more agents work together to achieve something either one couldn't have achieved on its own.  It's the concept of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.

How It Works

Synergy is often one of the goals of a merger or acquisition. The two firms combined may be able to achieve higher profitability than either firm could achieve on its own. Synergy can be reflected in increased revenues and/or lower expenses.

For example, a company may acquire a similar firm, allowing it to expand its product offering and, as a result, increase its sales and revenues. This could not have been accomplished had the two firms remained independant.

In management, synergies may be created between management teams, resulting in increased capacity and workflow that was not possible when the teams were working independently.

As for costs, synergies allow for the creation of economies of scale. For example, a merger can reduce multiple levels of management and duplication and spread fixed cost technologies over larger operations.

Why It Matters

Synergies may be elusive, but they are one of the most important objectives in business. To acquire synergy will result in more efficiency, more efficacy and higher profitability.

Source: Investing Answers



English Language Learners Definition of synergy

: the increased effectiveness that results when two or more people or businesses work together


syn·​er·​gy | \ˈsin-ər-jē \
plural synergies

Medical Definition of synergy 

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