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See also: adhère and adhéré


Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English *adheren (suggested by Middle English adherande (adhering, adherent, present participle)), from Latin adhaerēre, adhaesum: ad (to) + haerēre (to stick). Compare French adhérer.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ædˈhɪə/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ædˈhɪɹ/
    • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪə(ɹ)


adhere (third-person singular simple present adheres, present participle adhering, simple past and past participle adhered)

Sand adhered to the body
  1. (intransitive) To stick fast or cleave, as a glutinous substance does; to become joined or united.
    Synonyms: cleave, cling, stick; see also Thesaurus:adhere
    wax adhered to his finger
    • 1905, Anna Botsford Comstock, chapter 16, in How to Keep Bees:
      The sure test of the presence of the disease is found in the dead body of the larva, which is dark and discoloured; and if a toothpick or pin be thrust into it and then drawn back, the body contents will adhere to it in a stringy mass, to the extent of a half or even an entire inch, as if it were mucous or glue; later the bodies of the larvae dry and appear as black scales in the cell bottoms.
    • December 23 2016, Victoria Neff in Roanoke Rapids Daily Herald, The story of mistletoe
      Mistletoe is an evergreen perennial shrub that has female plants that produce white berries. These white berries are a favorite food of birds who help to reseed the sticky seeds that adhere to tree branches.
  2. (intransitive, figurative) To be attached or devoted by personal union, in belief, on principle, etc.
    • 1829, Washington Irving, chapter 20, in Chronicle of the Conquest of Granada:
      King Ferdinand adopted the magnanimous measure recommended by the queen, but he accompanied it with several shrewd conditions, exacting tribute, military services, and safe passages and maintenance for Christian troops throughout the places which should adhere to Boabdil.
    • 1913, William Stanley Braithwaite, A Foremost American Lyrist: An Appreciation:
      She has conceived the high function of poetry as an interpretation and criticism of life, adhering to the canons of her beloved master, Matthew Arnold, and has proven her worth, and the right to receive and exercise the spiritual influence inherited from that great and austere poet.
    • December 13 2016, Secret aid worker, Secret aid worker: NGOs can be efficient, if it involves sacrificing staff
      But from then on, everything went full speed. A tight timeline was adhered to and it became clear that the organisation’s new direction saw no value in keeping or developing the talents it had previously hired.
    • 2018, James Lambert, “Setting the Record Straight: An In-depth Examination of Hobson-Jobson”, in International Journal of Lexicography, volume 31, number 4, →DOI, page 486:
      This paper gives an overview of such commentary it has received, minimal as it is, and highlights a number of inaccuracies that appear to adhere to the dictionary with worrying regularity.
  3. (intransitive, figurative) To be consistent or coherent; to be in accordance; to agree.
    • 2017 September 27, David Browne, “Hugh Hefner, 'Playboy' Founder, Dead at 91”, in Rolling Stone:
      For the most part, Hefner's female companions all adhered to the same mold: twentysomething, bosomy and blonde. "Well, I guess I know what I like," he once said when asked about his preferences.
  4. (Scotland, law) To affirm a judgment.

Usage notes[edit]

  • The verb is intransitive but often takes the preposition "to".

Related terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.






  1. second-person singular present active imperative of adhēreō