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[ad-hee-zhuh n] /ædˈhi ʒən/
the act or state of adhering; state of being adhered or united:
the adhesion of parts united by growth.
steady or devoted attachment, support, etc.; adherence.
assent; concurrence.
Physics. the molecular force of attraction in the area of contact between unlike bodies that acts to hold them together.
Compare cohesion (def 2).
  1. the abnormal union of adjacent tissues.
  2. the tissue involved.
Botany. the union of normally separate parts.
  1. the frictional resistance of rails to the tendency of driving wheels to slip.
  2. factor of adhesion.
1615-25; < Medieval Latin adhēsiōn- for Latin adhaesiōn- (stem of adhaesiō) a clinging, equivalent to adhaes(us), past participle of adhaerēre to adhere + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
adhesional, adjective
nonadhesion, noun
Can be confused
adherence, adherents, adhesion. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for adhesion
  • By adding different mixtures of amino acids, they think they can encourage adhesion between other sorts of cells.
  • The fact that these bats use wet adhesion may also explain why they roost head-up, the authors hypothesize.
  • The zinc helped with adhesion and was probably safe so long as people used moderate amounts of cream.
  • It's usually called a cog railway or rack railway, and works when a steep mountain grade would make adhesion impossible.
  • Cars that corner too flat often belie their limits of adhesion.
  • The adhesion keeps them from washing into the spleen, which cleans the blood by shredding damaged cells.
  • Looking at the photos, its interesting to see the adhesion properties of the oil.
  • But in some cases, insects do make use of a kind of adhesion.
  • But current models that invoke hydrodynamics and surface adhesion effects do not adequately address this situation.
  • When the tongue leaves the liquid, adhesion pulls fluid with it from the surface, and inertia causes more liquid to follow.
British Dictionary definitions for adhesion


the quality or condition of sticking together or holding fast
ability to make firm contact without skidding or slipping
attachment or fidelity, as to a political party, cause, etc
an attraction or repulsion between the molecules of unlike substances in contact: distinguished from cohesion
(pathol) abnormal union of structures or parts
Usage note
Adhesion is the preferred term when talking about sticking or holding fast in a physical sense. Adherence is preferred when talking about attachment to a political party, cause, etc
Word Origin
C17: from Latin adhaesiōn- a sticking. See adhere
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
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Word Origin and History for adhesion

1620s, from French adhésion or directly from Latin adhaesionem (nominative adhaesio) "a sticking to," noun of action from past participle stem of adhaerare (see adherent).

Adhesion is generally used in the material, and adherence in the metaphysical sense. [Johnson]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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adhesion in Medicine

adhesion ad·he·sion (ād-hē'zhən)

  1. A condition in which body tissues that are normally separate grow together.

  2. A fibrous band of scar tissue that binds together normally separate anatomical structures.

  3. The union of opposing surfaces of a wound, especially in healing. Also called conglutination.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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adhesion in Science
  1. The force of attraction that causes two different substances to join. Adhesion causes water to spread out over glass. Compare cohesion.

  2. A fibrous band of abnormal tissue that binds together tissues that are normally separate. Adhesions form during the healing of some wounds, usually as a result of inflammation.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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adhesion in Culture

adhesion definition

The molecular (see molecule) attraction that holds the surfaces of two dissimilar substances together. (Compare cohesion.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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