[ad-hee-zhuh n]
See more synonyms for adhesion on
  1. the act or state of adhering; state of being adhered or united: the adhesion of parts united by growth.
  2. steady or devoted attachment, support, etc.; adherence.
  3. assent; concurrence.
  4. Physics. the molecular force of attraction in the area of contact between unlike bodies that acts to hold them together.Compare cohesion(def 2).
  5. Pathology.
    1. the abnormal union of adjacent tissues.
    2. the tissue involved.
  6. Botany. the union of normally separate parts.
  7. Railroads.
    1. the frictional resistance of rails to the tendency of driving wheels to slip.
    2. factor of adhesion.

Origin of adhesion

1615–25; < Medieval Latin adhēsiōn- for Latin adhaesiōn- (stem of adhaesiō) a clinging, equivalent to adhaes(us), past participle of adhaerēre to adhere + -iōn- -ion
Related formsad·he·sion·al, adjectivenon·ad·he·sion, noun
Can be confusedadherence adherents adhesion Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for adhesion

grip, attachment, cling, adherence, bond, adhesiveness, stickiness

Examples from the Web for adhesion

Historical Examples of adhesion

British Dictionary definitions for adhesion


  1. the quality or condition of sticking together or holding fast
  2. ability to make firm contact without skidding or slipping
  3. attachment or fidelity, as to a political party, cause, etc
  4. an attraction or repulsion between the molecules of unlike substances in contact: distinguished from cohesion
  5. pathol abnormal union of structures or parts

Word Origin for adhesion

C17: from Latin adhaesiōn- a sticking. See adhere


Adhesion is the preferred term when talking about sticking or holding fast in a physical sense. Adherence is preferred when talking about attachment to a political party, cause, etc
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 adhesion

1620s, from French adhésion or directly from Latin adhaesionem (nominative adhaesio) "a sticking to," noun of action from past participle stem of adhaerare (see adherent).

Adhesion is generally used in the material, and adherence in the metaphysical sense. [Johnson]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

adhesion in Medicine


  1. A condition in which body tissues that are normally separate grow together.
  2. A fibrous band of scar tissue that binds together normally separate anatomical structures.
  3. The union of opposing surfaces of a wound, especially in healing.conglutination
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

adhesion in Science


  1. The force of attraction that causes two different substances to join. Adhesion causes water to spread out over glass. Compare cohesion.
  2. A fibrous band of abnormal tissue that binds together tissues that are normally separate. Adhesions form during the healing of some wounds, usually as a result of inflammation.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

adhesion in Culture


The molecular (see molecule) attraction that holds the surfaces of two dissimilar substances together. (Compare cohesion.)

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