syn·​er·​gy | \ ˈsi-nər-jē How to pronounce synergy (audio) \
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 That can always change in the NBA, and the Knicks have never had a good track record of having synergy. Omari Sankofa Ii, USA TODAY, "NBA Roundtable: Tom Thibodeau has the Knicks on the rebound. But how long can it last?," 28 Apr. 2021 Writers and artists collaborate to explore the synergy between the visual and written arts., "Community News For The Farmington Valley Edition," 22 Apr. 2021 When people simply do not understand or accept each other, the lack of synergy will inevitably result in corporate setbacks. Alex Lutskiy, Forbes, "Three Myths About IT Outsourcing: How To Find A Credible Partner," 20 Apr. 2021 Isaacs and the board say the consolidation will increase synergy across the departments, that CalTech is enthusiastic, and that both institutions will benefit from collaborations focused on global ecology. Meredith Wadman, Science | AAAS, "Uproar over sale of iconic Carnegie Institution headquarters to Qatar exposes deeper tensions," 16 Apr. 2021 The synergy between him and our wine-maker was magic. Brad Japhe, Forbes, "What’s Next For Post Malone’s Record-Setting Rose," 9 Apr. 2021 Its greatest success, though, is its perfect synergy between plot and play. Cecilia D'anastasio, Wired, "It Takes Two Is One Hell of a Couples' Therapy Session," 1 Apr. 2021 Unlike actual energy, which can be measured in joules or watts, synergy cannot be quantified, so no one can be written up for being insufficiently synergistic. James Lileks, Star Tribune, "Lileks: If there's no office, can we dump office jargon?," 14 Feb. 2021 Curry has been on the receiving end of Green’s brilliant passing for nearly a decade, but never has the synergy between the two been more important than this season. Connor Letourneau, San Francisco Chronicle, "How Draymond Green's passing fuels Steph Curry's crazy numbers with Warriors," 11 Feb. 2021

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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Time Traveler for synergy

Time Traveler

The first known use of synergy was in 1632

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Statistics for synergy

Last Updated

5 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Synergy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for synergy



English Language Learners Definition of synergy

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


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

Medical Definition of synergy

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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for synergy

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