definition of cohort by The Free Dictionary





a. A group or band of people.

b. A companion or associate.

c. A generational group as defined in demographics, statistics, or market research: “The cohort of people aged 30 to 39 … were more conservative” (American Demographics).


a. One of the 10 divisions of a Roman legion, consisting of 300 to 600 men.

b. A group of soldiers.

Usage Note: The English word cohort comes from the Latin word cohors, which meant “an enclosed area” or “a pen or courtyard enclosing a group of cattle or poultry.” By extension, the word could refer to any group in general and in particular to a company of soldiers or a troop of cavalry in the army of ancient Rome. The group of men forming the bodyguard of a Roman general or the retinue of a provincial governor was also called a cohors. Because of this history, some people insist that the English word cohort should be used to refer only to a group of people and never to an individual person. But the use of cohort in reference to individuals has become so common, especially in the plural, as to overshadow the use in the singular to refer to a group. Both in our 1988 and 1999 surveys, 71 percent of the Usage Panel accepted the sentence The cashiered dictator and his cohorts have all written their memoirs. These results stand in stark contrast to those of our 1965 survey, in which 69 percent rejected the usage. Moreover, the Panel is divided regarding the traditional usage referring to a group. In 1988, 43 percent accepted The gangster walked into the room surrounded by his cohort, and in 1999, 56 percent accepted Like many in her cohort, she was never interested in kids when she was young.

American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.




1. (Military) one of the ten units of between 300 and 600 men in an ancient Roman Legion

2. any band of warriors or associates: the cohorts of Satan.

3. chiefly US an associate or follower

4. (Biology) biology a taxonomic group that is a subdivision of a subclass (usually of mammals) or subfamily (of plants)

5. (Statistics) statistics a group of people with a statistic in common, esp having been born in the same year

[C15: from Latin cohors yard, company of soldiers; related to hortus garden]

Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈkoʊ hɔrt)


1. a companion, associate, or accomplice.

2. a group or company.

3. one of the ten divisions of a Roman legion.

4. any group of soldiers or warriors.

5. a group of persons sharing a particular statistical or demographic characteristic.

6. an individual in a population of the same species.

[1475–85; < Middle French cohorte < Latin cohort-, s. of cohors farmyard, armed force]

usage: Emphasizing the idea of companionship or aid, cohort has come to signify a single individual – whether friend, supporter, or accomplice. This use is sometimes objected to, although it is now common.

Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


 a division in the Roman army; a band of warriors. See also band, company.

Examples: cohort of acquaintances, 1719; of bright cherubim, 1667; of Christian fathers, 1858; of infantry, 1489; of priests, 1874; of social regenerators, 1871; of warriors, 1500.

Dictionary of Collective Nouns and Group Terms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

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