Word of the Day : June 7, 2017


adjective in-koh-HEER-unt


: lacking coherence: such as

a : lacking cohesion : loose

b : lacking orderly continuity, arrangement, or relevance : inconsistent

c : lacking normal clarity or intelligibility in speech or thought


I found myself unable to follow the movie's rambling and incoherent plot.

"All it really says is that people are expressing profound unease, even if they have incoherent or contradictory senses of why…." — Nitsuh Abebe, The New York Times Magazine, 18 Apr. 2017

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 some decades 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.

Word Family Quiz

What relative of haerēre means "to hold back in doubt or indecision"?



More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!