syn·​er·​gy ˈsi-nər-jē How to pronounce synergy (audio)
plural synergies
: synergism
broadly : combined action or operation
: a mutually advantageous conjunction or compatibility of distinct business participants or elements (such as resources or efforts)

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 Both companies are owned by Paramount Global, which is what allows the network synergy for the Nickelodeon cartoon characters to perform. Jordan Moreau, Variety, 11 Feb. 2024 And as the range of specialized workers and machines grows alongside remarkable global synergy in a production sense, the cost of everything declines. John Tamny, Forbes, 11 Feb. 2024 Future research will discern whether clinical improvements are driven by human support, software, or both, with the likely result that there is a valuable synergy worthy of investment. G. Luke Hartstein and John Torous, STAT, 1 Feb. 2024 But there’s something depressing about it, as if slapping two disparate brands together and calling it synergy was a substitute for actually making something new. Emily Heil, Washington Post, 6 Jan. 2024 Spatial synergy and conversation between artworks are key in this retrospective, explains Reeve, who worked with the exhibtion's organizing curators at the ICA Boston. Shantay Robinson, Smithsonian Magazine, 5 Dec. 2023 That’s on top of Disney actualizing $3 billion in cost cuts and synergies. Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, Fortune, 6 Feb. 2024 The restoration makes the high-flying horn solos stand out all the more clearly and—by exposing the synergy of the rhythm section, the bassist Charles Mingus, the pianist Bud Powell, and the drummer Max Roach—renders the music irresistibly, danceably propulsive. The New Yorker, 12 Jan. 2024 Seeking synergies can backfire and sap the life from momentum. Mike Keech, Forbes, 29 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'synergy.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


New Latin synergia, from Greek synergos working together

First Known Use

1632, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of synergy was in 1632

Dictionary Entries Near synergy

Cite this Entry

“Synergy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Medical Definition


syn·​er·​gy ˈsin-ər-jē How to pronounce synergy (audio)
plural synergies

More from Merriam-Webster on synergy

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