[ad-heer-uhnt, -her-]
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  1. sticking; clinging; adhering: an adherent substance.
  2. bound by contract or other formal agreement: the nations adherent to the Geneva Convention.
  3. Biology. adnate.
  4. Grammar. standing before and modifying a noun; attributive.

Origin of adherent

1350–1400; Middle English < Medieval Latin adhērent- for Latin adhaerent- (stem of adhaerēns, present participle of adhaerēre). See adhere, -ent
Related formsad·her·ent·ly, adverbnon·ad·her·ent, adjective, nounpre·ad·her·ent, adjectivepre·ad·her·ent·ly, adverb
Can be confusedadherence adherents adhesion

Synonyms for adherent

See more synonyms for on

Synonym study

1. See follower. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for adherent

Contemporary Examples of adherent

  • Twenty-five percent of Americans believe that Obama is an adherent of Islam.

    The Daily Beast logo
    November Surprises

    Christopher Buckley

    November 3, 2008

Historical Examples of adherent

British Dictionary definitions for adherent


  1. (usually foll by of) a supporter or follower
  1. sticking, holding fast, or attached
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

Word Origin and History for adherent

late 14c., from Old French adherent or directly from Latin adhaerentem (nominative adhaerens), present participle of adhaerere "stick to," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + haerere "to stick" (see hesitation).


"follower, associate, supporter," early 15c., from Old French adherent or directly from Latin adhaerentem (see adherent (adj.)). Meaning "adhesive substance" is from 1912.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper