[ sin-er-jee ]
/ ˈsɪn ər dʒi /
Save This Word!
See synonyms for: synergy / synergies / synergic on Thesaurus.com

noun, plural syn·er·gies.

the interaction of elements that when combined produce a total effect that is greater than the sum of the individual elements, contributions, etc.; synergism.
Physiology, Medicine/Medical. the cooperative action of two or more muscles, nerves, or the like.
Biochemistry, Pharmacology. the cooperative action of two or more stimuli or drugs.



Did you ever collect all those state quarters? Put them to good use on this quiz about curious state monikers and the facts around them.
Question 1 of 8
Mississippi’s nickname comes from the magnificent trees that grow there. What is it?

Origin of synergy

1650–60; <New Latin synergia<Greek synergía, equivalent to synerg(ós) (see synergism) + -ia-y3


syn·er·gic [si-nur-jik], /sɪˈnɜr dʒɪk/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does synergy mean?

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. Synergy implies that the magic is in the combination, as opposed to in the individual elements themselves.

Synergy can be used in all kinds of contexts. A food critic might say that a particular dish is delicious due to the synergy of its ingredients. In the business world, the word synergy is often seen as a kind of buzzword that’s used as a way of referring to what makes a certain project or venture successful.

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.

The word synergism can be used to mean the same thing as synergy. 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 synergy that led to great success.

Where does synergy come from?

The first records of the word synergy come from the 1650s. It 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.

Synergy 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. In music, it can refer to something like harmony, or something even more. It often involves 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 synergy?

What are some synonyms for synergy?

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

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

How is synergy used in real life?

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


Try using synergy!

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

A. successful
B. magical
C. unproductive
D. effective

Example sentences from the Web for synergy

British Dictionary definitions for synergy

/ (ˈsɪnədʒɪ) /

noun plural -gies

Also called: synergism the potential ability of individual organizations or groups to be more successful or productive as a result of a merger
another name for synergism (def. 1)

Derived forms of synergy

synergic (sɪˈnɜːdʒɪk), adjective

Word Origin for synergy

C19: from New Latin synergia, from Greek sunergos; see synergism
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 synergy

[ sĭnər-jē ]


The interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
See Today's Synonym