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[koh-heer-uh ns, -her-] /koʊˈhɪər əns, -ˈhɛr-/
the act or state of cohering; cohesion.
logical interconnection; overall sense or understandability.
congruity; consistency.
Physics, Optics. (of waves) the state of being coherent.
Linguistics. the property of unity in a written text or a segment of spoken discourse that stems from the links among its underlying ideas and from the logical organization and development of its thematic content.
Compare cohesion (def 4).
Also, coherency.
Origin of coherence
1570-80; coher(ent) + -ence
Related forms
noncoherence, noun
noncoherency, noun
3. correspondence, harmony, agreement, rationality. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for coherence
  • There seems to be little coherence in the jurist's volte-face.
  • Other things can be taught, so that the students can write with ease and coherence.
  • Their unification should bring more coherence to anti-poverty programmes.
  • He figured out that they were all the same thing and helped bring coherence to a rambling tale.
  • In technical terms, the system loses its quantum coherence.
  • There's no sedimentary material that is uniform throughout the region, that has any coherence.
  • Let a hundred flowers bloom, because there is no longer a public culture that has any coherence.
  • The coherence of the country is commonly defined even by its shape, the hexagon.
  • We expect quality and not a lack of meaningful methodology and dumbed down writing coherence.
  • But although his critique of latter-day environmentalism strains in a few places, it does have a larger coherence.
British Dictionary definitions for coherence


logical or natural connection or consistency
another word for cohesion (sense 1)
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 coherence

late 16c., from Middle French cohérence (16c.), from Latin cohaerentia, noun of state from cohaerentem (see coherent). Related: Coherency.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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coherence in Science
  (kō-hîr'əns, -hěr'-)   
A property holding for two or more waves or fields when each individual wave or field is in phase with every other one. Lasers, for example, emit almost perfectly coherent light; all the photons emitted by a laser have the same frequency and are in phase. Since quantum states can be described by a wave equation, coherence can hold for quantum states in general, though only among bosons. Coherence is generally possible in physical systems that may undergo superposition. Maintaining coherence of light is important in fiber optic communications. See also Bose-Einstein condensate.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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