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[koh-heer-uh ns, -her-] /koʊˈhɪər əns, -ˈhɛr-/
the act or state of cohering; cohesion.
logical interconnection; overall sense or understandability.
congruity; consistency.
Physics, Optics. (of waves) the state of being coherent.
Linguistics. the property of unity in a written text or a segment of spoken discourse that stems from the links among its underlying ideas and from the logical organization and development of its thematic content.
Compare cohesion (def 4).
Also, coherency.
Origin of coherence
First recorded in 1570-80; coher(ent) + -ence
Related forms
noncoherence, noun
noncoherency, noun
3. correspondence, harmony, agreement, rationality. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for coherence
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But you will say, what coherence has this remark with the matter in question?

    Ebrietatis Encomium Boniface Oinophilus
  • At about this point the conversation lost its coherence in Pop's ears.

    In a Little Town Rupert Hughes
  • There was no coherence in the noises he was making in his effort to speak words.

  • Consequently, they can no longer assume the coherence of language.

  • Why stifle his powers for the sake of a coherence which did not exist!

    The Patrician John Galsworthy
  • "Well," he went on with an evident effort at self-control and coherence.

    War and Peace Leo Tolstoy
  • Betsy took her by the shoulders, and shook her into coherence.

    Dear Enemy Jean Webster
  • It is constructed with regard to Unity, Mass, and coherence.

    English: Composition and Literature

    W. F. (William Franklin) Webster
British Dictionary definitions for coherence


logical or natural connection or consistency
another word for cohesion (sense 1)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for coherence

late 16c., from Middle French cohérence (16c.), from Latin cohaerentia, noun of state from cohaerentem (see coherent). Related: Coherency.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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coherence in Science
  (kō-hîr'əns, -hěr'-)   
A property holding for two or more waves or fields when each individual wave or field is in phase with every other one. Lasers, for example, emit almost perfectly coherent light; all the photons emitted by a laser have the same frequency and are in phase. Since quantum states can be described by a wave equation, coherence can hold for quantum states in general, though only among bosons. Coherence is generally possible in physical systems that may undergo superposition. Maintaining coherence of light is important in fiber optic communications. See also Bose-Einstein condensate.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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