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[koh-uh-lish-uh n] /ˌkoʊ əˈlɪʃ ən/
a combination or alliance, especially a temporary one between persons, factions, states, etc.
a union into one body or mass; fusion.
1605-15; < Latin coalitiōn- (stem of coalitiō), equivalent to coalit(us), past participle of coalēscere (co- co- + ali-, past participle stem of alere to nourish + -tus past participle suffix) + -iōn- -ion; see coalesce
Related forms
coalitional, adjective
coalitioner, noun
1. partnership; league. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for coalitions
  • Because bonobo females can travel together, this gives them power in the sense that they can form coalitions against males.
  • They team up to form coalitions to overthrow their foes, but they also reconcile after a fight.
  • Males, meanwhile, form coalitions of siblings that hunt together and may remain together for life.
  • What emerged were ruling coalitions of the army and various secular nationalist movements.
  • It has been governed for thousands of years by local and regional tribal coalitions.
  • Government coalitions are fractious and short-lived.
  • It would also have us believe the coalitions do not matter when voting for a budget.
  • But the intricacies of coalitions and early elections are boring.
  • In the same places nastily populist or xenophobic parties wield hefty electoral clout, or prop up governing coalitions.
  • The public also has a strong preference for national unity coalitions, according to opinion polls.
British Dictionary definitions for coalitions


  1. an alliance or union between groups, factions, or parties, esp for some temporary and specific reason
  2. (as modifier): a coalition government
a fusion or merging into one body or mass
Derived Forms
coalitional, adjective
coalitionist, coalitioner, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Medieval Latin coalitiō, from Latin coalēscere to coalesce
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 coalitions



1610s, "the growing together of parts," from French coalition (1540s), from Late Latin coalitus "fellowship," originally past participle of Latin coalescere (see coalesce). First used in a political sense 1715.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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coalitions in Culture

coalition definition

An alliance of political groups formed to oppose a common foe or pursue a common goal.

Note: In countries with many political parties, none of which can get a majority of the citizens' votes, the only way an effective government can be formed is by a coalition of parties. Such coalitions are often unstable.
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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