Definition of cohort in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkōˌhôrt/


1 [treated as singular or plural] An ancient Roman military unit, comprising six centuries, equal to one tenth of a legion.
Example sentences
  • He replaced the existing praetorian guard with sixteen cohorts recruited from his German legions.
  • Initially designed for cavalry, the fort was garrisoned by an infantry cohort of 800 men in the C2.
  • Sometimes linked with Mars, he was honoured by various senior officers, by soldiers of all the legions, and by the cohort at the fort of Birdoswald.
unit, force, corps, division, brigade, battalion, regiment, squadron, company, troop, contingent, legion, phalanx
2 [treated as singular or plural] A group of people banded together or treated as a group: a cohort of civil servants patiently drafting legislation
More example sentences
  • The rollback has been gradual, first offering free doctor's visits to children, then pensioners, then subsidies to various cohorts of adults - and now, it finally seems to be bearing fruit.
  • Exactly how China's future cohorts of young men are to be socialized with no prospect of settled family life and no tradition of honorable bachelorhood is a question that can be asked today, but not answered.
  • Modern warfare, modern weaponry is so hi-tech that if you try to run our defences on the basis of conscription, you have your professional soldiery permanently employed training successive cohorts of conscripts.
2.1A group of people with a common statistical characteristic: the 1940–44 birth cohort of women
More example sentences
  • Although biomass allocation patterns were statistically significant between cohorts during juvenile growth stages, the most obvious differences were at late-fruiting.
  • Later age of onset of first drug use was significantly associated with delayed age of first treatment among all male birth cohorts and females born before 1971.
  • Similarly, the association of family and school problems with early age of onset of escalated drug use was also consistent across gender and birth cohorts.
group, grouping, category, class, set, division, batch, list;
age group, generation
3often derogatory A supporter or companion.
Example sentences
  • How to understand the older generation which supported Hitler and his cohorts?
  • Elaine May plays Frenchy's batty sister and Tony Darrow, Michael Rapaport and John Lovitz offer able support as Ray's cohorts.
  • For the easily confused, a cast directory helps you to identify all the various roles for the Pythons and their supporting cohorts.
colleague, companion, associate, friend


The co- in cohort is not a prefix signifying a joint or auxiliary relationship (as in coauthor or codependency). The word derives from the Latin cohors, an ancient Roman military unit, and also ‘band of people with a common interest.’ In the mid 20th century, a new sense developed in the US, meaning ‘a companion or colleague,’ as in young Jack arrived with three of his cohorts. Although this use is well established, there are still some people who object to it on the grounds that cohort should be used only for groups of people, never for individuals.


Late Middle English: from Old French cohorte, or from Latin cohors, cohort- 'yard, retinue'. Compare with court.

  • courteous from Middle English:

    Medieval courts were associated with good manners, hence the early meaning of courteous, ‘having manners fit for a royal court’. It derived from Old French corteis, based on cort ‘court’. Courtesy (Middle English), ‘the showing of politeness towards others’, is from the same root, and got shortened to produce curtsey (early 16th century). Court itself is from the same period and goes back to Latin cohors which had, as the English word has, the senses of both ‘courtyard’ and ‘retinue’, and is the source of the word cohort (Late Middle English) originally a tenth of a Roman legion.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: co·hort

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