[ sin-er-jis-tik ]
/ ˌsɪn ərˈdʒɪs tɪk /
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pertaining to, characteristic of, or resembling synergy: a synergistic effect.
Chemistry, Pharmacology, Physiology. acting as a synergist; producing synergism; interacting.
Theology. of or relating to theological synergism or synergists.
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Origin of synergistic

First recorded in 1810–20; synerg(ism) or synerg(ist) + -istic

OTHER WORDS FROM synergistic

syn·er·gis·ti·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does synergistic mean?

Synergistic is used to describe things that produce, result from, or otherwise involve synergy. The word synergy 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, synergy 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 synergy. Describing something as synergistic implies that the magic is in the combination, as opposed to in the individual elements themselves.

Synergistic can be used to describe a combination that produces such an effect or things that work together in this way. It’s often used generally to describe things that work well together. A food critic might say that a particular dish is delicious due to its synergistic mixture of ingredients. A synergistic approach is one that incorporates different elements or groups to work together.

Synergy is also used in a more specific way in the context of medicine to refer to the cooperation of multiple body parts, such as muscles or nerves. It can also refer to the interaction of drugs or other stimuli. The things that cooperate in this way can be called synergists and their actions or effects can be described as synergistic.

Less common synonyms for synergistic include synergic and synergetic.

Example: The synergistic cooperation between these departments has led to great success.

Where does synergistic come from?

The first records of the word synergistic come from the early 1800s. 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 -istic is used to form adjectives.

Synergistic is usually used in the context of things or people working together in a special, almost magical way. It can be used in all kinds of contexts. Describing something as synergistic often means that it has an intangible quality that’s produced by a combination that is said to be “greater than the sum of its parts.”

Did you know … ?

What are some other forms of synergistic?

  • synergistically (adverb)
  • synergy (noun)

What are some synonyms for synergistic?

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

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



How is synergistic used in real life?

Synergistic is typically used in a positive way in the discussion of things or people coming together to produce something great.

Try using synergistic!

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

A. unsuccessful

B. magical

C. productive

D. effective

How to use synergistic in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for synergistic


synergetic (ˌsɪnəˈdʒɛtɪk)

/ (ˌsɪnəˈdʒɪstɪk) /

acting together
(of people, groups, or companies) working together in a creative, innovative, and productive manner

Derived forms of synergistic

synergistically or synergetically, adverb

Word Origin for synergistic

C17: from Greek sunergētikos, from syn- + -ergētikos, from ergon work; see energy
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