[koh-hee-zhuh n]
See more synonyms for cohesion on
  1. the act or state of cohering, uniting, or sticking together.
  2. Physics. the molecular force between particles within a body or substance that acts to unite them.Compare adhesion(def 4).
  3. Botany. the congenital union of one part with another.
  4. 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 formsco·he·sion·less, adjectivein·ter·co·he·sion, nounnon·co·he·sion, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for cohesion

coherence, adherence, attachment

Examples from the Web for cohesion

Contemporary Examples of cohesion

Historical Examples of cohesion

British Dictionary definitions for cohesion


  1. the act or state of cohering; tendency to unite
  2. physics the force that holds together the atoms or molecules in a solid or liquid, as distinguished from adhesion
  3. botany the fusion in some plants of flower parts, such as petals, that are usually separate

Word Origin for cohesion

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

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

cohesion in Medicine


  1. 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.

cohesion in Science


  1. 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 © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

cohesion in Culture


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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.