[ koh-hawrt ]
/ ˈkoʊ hɔrt /
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See synonyms for: cohort / cohorts on Thesaurus.com

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Origin of cohort

First recorded in 1475–85; from Middle French cohorte, from Latin cohort- (stem of cohors ) “farmyard, armed force (originally, from a particular place or camp), cohort, retinue,” equivalent to co- “with, together” + hort- (akin to hortus “garden”); replacing late Middle English cohors, from Latin; see co-, com-

historical usage of cohort

A cohort was originally one of the ten divisions of a legion in the Roman army, containing from 300 to 600 men. The most common use of cohort today is in the sense “group” or “company”: A cohort of hangers-on followed the singer down the corridor. In a development emphasizing the idea of companionship, cohort has also come to mean a single companion, associate, or the like: The senator strode into the room followed by his faithful cohort, his son-in-law.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does cohort mean?

A cohort is a group of people, as in The senator is traveling with a large cohort. 

It can also refer to an associate or companion, as in I’m meeting up with some of my cohorts from my days as a salesperson. 

Sometimes, cohort refers to an accomplice in crime or some other underhanded activity, as in The supervillain and his cohorts have robbed yet another bank. 

When referring to a group, cohort can also be used in a more specific way to mean a group of people who share a common characteristic, come from the same demographic, or have been sorted into the same category. In statistical studies, it’s especially used to refer to people born in the same year or range of years, as in This study focuses on the cohort of people born between 1980 and 1985. In education, cohort is used to refer to a group of students, such as one consisting of students who started in the same year, or one of the multiple smaller groups that a class has been divided into.

In biology, cohort is used to refer to an individual animal or organism in a population of the same species.

Where does cohort come from?

The first records of the word cohort come from the late 1400s. It comes from the Latin cohors, meaning “yard,” “farmyard,” or “company of soldiers” (in reference to a place where soldiers camped). Cohors comes from a combination of co-, meaning “with” or “together,” and hort-, related to hortus, “garden.” (The same root is the basis of the word horticulture.)

The word cohort was originally used to refer to ancient Roman military units consisting of 300 to 600 soldiers. From there, its meaning became more general until it came to mean any group of people, especially those with something in common. (The notion of companionship between soldiers also contributed to its use to refer to a singular companion or associate.)

In education, the word cohort is used to refer to a group of students who have been grouped together based on some category, such as grade level or graduation year. In this context, cohort is often used when other words like class might not be entirely precise. For example, a class of students may be divided into multiple cohorts, such as when the teacher spends time teaching each one separately. Some universities sort students into cohorts based on the year they first enrolled in order to better track graduation rates. The term can also be used in other ways, such as to refer to a group of students in the same program who progress together by taking the same classes.

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What are some synonyms for cohort?

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How is cohort used in real life?

The word cohort can be used in many contexts. When it refers to a group, it can be used in a general way or in more specific ways in the context of education and statistics.




Try using cohort!

Which of the following words is a synonym of cohort?

A. associate
B. accomplice
C. group
D. all of the above

How to use cohort in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for cohort

/ (ˈkəʊhɔːt) /

one of the ten units of between 300 and 600 men in an ancient Roman Legion
any band of warriors or associatesthe cohorts of Satan
mainly US an associate or follower
biology a taxonomic group that is a subdivision of a subclass (usually of mammals) or subfamily (of plants)
statistics a group of people with a statistic in common, esp having been born in the same year

Word Origin for cohort

C15: from Latin cohors yard, company of soldiers; related to hortus garden
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

Medical definitions for cohort

[ kōhôrt′ ]

A defined population group followed prospectively in an epidemiological study.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.