Dictionary.com

synergism

[ sin-er-jiz-uhm, si-nur-jiz- ]
/ ˈsɪn ərˌdʒɪz əm, sɪˈnɜr dʒɪz- /
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noun

Biochemistry, Pharmacology. the joint action of agents, as drugs, that when taken together increase each other's effectiveness (contrasted with antagonism).
Theology. the doctrine that the human will cooperates with the Holy Ghost in the work of regeneration.Compare monergism.

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Origin of synergism

1755–65; <New Latin synergismus<Greek synerg(ós) ‘working together’ (syn-syn- + érg(on) work + -os adj. suffix) + New Latin -ismus-ism
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

VOCAB BUILDER

What does synergism mean?

Synergism is a less common word for synergy, which refers to when an interaction of elements produces an effect that is greater than the effect that would have resulted from simply adding up the effects of each individual element.

In other words, it is what happens when a combination of things produces an effect or result that is said to be “greater than the sum of its parts.”

When you combine things—chemicals, ingredients, people—you often expect these things to interact in a certain way based on what has been included. But when something extra happens, something greater, this is synergism. The word implies that the magic is in the combination, as opposed to in the individual elements themselves.

Synergism is also used in a more specific way in the context of medicine to refer to the cooperation between multiple body parts, such as muscles or nerves, or the interaction of drugs or other stimuli. The things that cooperate in this way can be called synergists. The opposite of this—when parts work against each other—is called antagonism.

The adjective synergistic can be used to describe a combination that produces such an effect or things that work together in this way.

Example: The cooperation between these departments produced a synergism that led to great success.

Where does synergism come from?

The first records of the word synergism come from around 1760. It ultimately comes from the Greek synerg(ós), meaning “working together,” from syn-, “together,” and + érg(on), “work.” The root érg(on) is also the basis of words like energy and ergonomics. The suffix -ism can be used in nouns to indicate an action, process, or result.

Synergism is usually used in the context of things or people working together successfully. It can be used in all kinds of contexts, but its synonym synergy is more common in general contexts. In medicine, synergism often refers to the successful cooperation of muscles or medications.

Did you know … ?

What are some other forms of synergism?

What are some synonyms for synergism?

What are some words that share a root or word element with synergism

What are some words that often get used in discussing synergism?

 

 

How is synergism used in real life?

Synergism can mean the same thing as the general sense of synergy, but it is much less commonly used. Synergism is also used in scientific and medical contexts.

Try using synergism!

Which of the following words is LEAST likely to be used to describe an effect that is said to be the result of synergism

A. successful

B. magical

C. unproductive

D. effective

Example sentences from the Web for synergism

British Dictionary definitions for synergism

synergism
/ (ˈsɪnəˌdʒɪzəm, sɪˈnɜː-) /

noun

Also called: synergy the working together of two or more drugs, muscles, etc, to produce an effect greater than the sum of their individual effects
another name for synergy (def. 1)
Christian theol the doctrine or belief that the human will cooperates with the Holy Spirit and with divine grace, esp in the act of conversion or regeneration

Word Origin for synergism

C18: from New Latin synergismus, from Greek sunergos, from syn- + ergon work
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 synergism

synergism
[ sĭnər-jĭz′əm ]

n.

Synergy.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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