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[koh-hee-zhuh n] /koʊˈhi ʒən/
the act or state of cohering, uniting, or sticking together.
Physics. the molecular force between particles within a body or substance that acts to unite them.
Compare adhesion (def 4).
Botany. the congenital union of one part with another.
Linguistics. the property of unity in a written text or a segment of spoken discourse that stems from links among its surface elements, as when words in one sentence are repeated in another, and especially from the fact that some words or phrases depend for their interpretation upon material in preceding or following text, as in the sequence Be assured of this. Most people do not want to fight. However, they will do so when provoked, where this refers to the two sentences that follow, they refers back to most people, do so substitutes for the preceding verb fight, and however relates the clause that follows to the preceding sentence.
Compare coherence (def 5).
Origin of cohesion
1670-80; variant of cohaesion < Latin cohaes- (variant stem of cohaerēre to cohere) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
cohesionless, adjective
intercohesion, noun
noncohesion, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for cohesion
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He may be described as confusing the attraction of gravitation with the attraction of cohesion.

    Timaeus Plato
  • The law of attraction and cohesion everywhere is the law of sex-activity.

  • The long wade through the water and mud had upset the cohesion of the Brigade.

  • There is "cohesion" between them, but it is less powerful than in a solid.

  • The cohesion of wealth is a force of peculiar social significance.

    The American Empire

    Scott Nearing
British Dictionary definitions for cohesion


the act or state of cohering; tendency to unite
(physics) the force that holds together the atoms or molecules in a solid or liquid, as distinguished from adhesion
(botany) the fusion in some plants of flower parts, such as petals, that are usually separate
Word Origin
C17: from Latin cohaesus stuck together, past participle of cohaerēre to cohere
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 cohesion

1670s, from French cohésion, from Latin cohaesionem (nominative cohaesio) "a sticking together," noun of action from past participle stem of cohaerere "to stick together" (see cohere).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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cohesion in Medicine

cohesion co·he·sion (kō-hē'zhən)
The intermolecular attraction that holds molecules and masses together.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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cohesion in Science
The force of attraction that holds molecules of a given substance together. It is strongest in solids, less strong in liquids, and least strong in gases. Cohesion of molecules causes drops to form in liquids (as when liquid mercury is poured on a piece of glass), and causes condensing water vapor to form the droplets that make clouds. Compare adhesion.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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cohesion in Culture

cohesion definition

The molecular (see molecule) attraction or joining of the surfaces of two pieces of the same substance. (Compare adhesion.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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