The Meaning of Cohort: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of cohort? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word cohort, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word cohort mean?

According to Collins English Dictionary and the American Heritage Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, the word cohort means a group of individuals, as well as an accomplice or single companion. This can refer to a demographic grouping of people based on a statistical factor, such as a generational group. It could also refer to the idea of companionship in the armed forces, such as a company of soldiers or band of warriors in a military unit. In traditional usage, this referred to a group of soldiers or a troop of cavalry in the army of ancient Rome, or the division of a Roman legion. This group of men in the Roman army often included a bodyguard of a Roman general of the Ancient Roman legion. The pronunciation of cohort is ˈkoʊ hɔrt, and cohort is two syllables – co-hort.

The word cohort can also be used in industries like education, sociology or statistics. This usually refers to a group of people like a class of students, program or demographic study used for market research. These people all share one or more similar demographic characteristic or other common characteristic. This could be a cohort of all children at a grade level or defined age group, or those who have similar interests like a STEM cohort of ids. In biology, this can refer to an individual in a population of the same species or subdivision of a subclass, such as the taxonomic group of mammals, or a group of people who are part of a clinical trial. 

Many different languages also contain words that mean cohort. You may notice that many of these translations of cohort from Word Sense look and sound similar to the word cohort. These are called cognates, which are often formed when two words in different languages share a common root or language of origin such as Latin or Greek. Try studying this list of translations of cohort if you are going to be traveling!

  •  Spanish: seguidor‎
  •  Russian: коллекти́в‎ (masc.), гру́ппа‎ (fem.), компа́ния‎ (fem.), кого́рта‎ (fem.)
  •  Finnish: joukko‎
  •  French: cohorte‎
  •  Czech: kohorta‎ (fem.)
  •  Estonian: kohort‎
  •  Esperanto: kohorto‎
  •  Italian: coorte‎
  •  Portuguese: seguidores‎ (masc. pl.), seguidoras‎ (fem. pl.)
  •  Catalan: cohort‎
  •  Macedonian: истомисле́ници‎ (masc. pl.)
  •  Slovene: kohorta‎ (fem.)

What is the origin of the English word cohort?

According to Etymonline, the word cohort (ˈkəʊhɔːt) has been used since c15 to refer to a company of soldiers. This comes from the c14 Middle French cohorte and Latin cohortem, the nominative Latin cohors yard which also referred to an enclosed area or infantry company/retinue. This comes from the root com meaning with and the root hortus garden. This comes from the Proto-Indo-European roots ghr-ti and gher.

What are synonyms of cohort?

There are many different words that a person could choose to use in place of the term cohort (kō′hôrt′). These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same definition as another given word or phrase. Learning synonyms is a great way to avoid repeating yourself and expand your vocabulary at the same time. This list of related words to cohort is provided by Power Thesaurus

  •  corps
  •  crony
  •  ally
  •  confrere
  •  comrade
  •  confederate
  •  division
  •  band
  •  partisan
  •  regiment
  •  fellow
  •  hobnobber
  •  buddy
  •  compatriot
  •  peer group
  •  partner
  •  squad
  •  adherent
  •  contingent
  •  colleague
  •  group
  •  class
  •  sidekick
  •  accomplice
  •  disciple
  •  squadron
  •  category
  •  companion
  •  troop
  •  unit
  •  satellite
  •  hanger-on
  •  henchman
  •  legion
  •  company
  •  follower
  •  mate
  •  grouping
  •  copartner
  •  friend
  •  associate
  •  pupil
  •  aide
  •  age group
  •  clubber
  •  age bracket
  •  brigade
  •  battalion
  •  detachment
  •  abettor
  •  supporter
  •  subfamily

There are also many different words that mean the opposite of the word cohort, called antonyms. This list of antonyms is also provided by Power Thesaurus

  •  character
  •  solitary
  •  sort
  •  private
  •  eccentric
  •  human being
  •  personage
  •  separate
  •  certain
  •  soul
  •  alone
  •  human
  •  singular
  •  body
  •  individualistic
  •  independent
  •  idiosyncratic
  •  being
  •  single
  •  persons
  •  characteristic
  •  creature
  •  peculiar
  •  isolated
  •  subjective
  •  unique
  •  customer
  •  specific
  •  fellow
  •  different
  •  individual
  •  entity
  •  exclusive
  •  special
  •  person
  •  respective
  •  personalized
  •  particular
  •  mortal
  •  lone
  •  one
  •  sole
  •  distinct
  •  especial
  •  people
  •  personal
  •  several
  •  distinctive
  •  original
  •  discrete
  •  man

How can the word cohort be used in a sentence?

The common use of cohort today can be used in many different ways in the English language. Using words in a sentence is a great way to familiarize yourself with their definitions. You can also try to make flashcards or quizzes for yourself as a way to test your knowledge. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today! Below are several examples of cohort to get you started. 

The cohort of hangers-on followed the author of the memoirs everywhere, pen in hand, to try and get her to sign their copy of the fifth edition. She felt she was being herded like poultry or cattle in a pen. 

The statistician noticed the sharp increase in automobile fatalities in cohorts of men with proximate age groupings around a particular place. She wondered if they were all driving drunk home from the same bar. She looked to see if any of them were on probation. 

The senator had a cohort of reporters follow him down the corridor of the court begging for a statement. 

The singer joined her first cohort at Princeton University and couldn’t wait to connect with this new family far from home. The faithful cohort immediately made her feel welcome.

Overall, the word cohort means a band of people or a companion, or a group of cattle. This is opposed to an individual person. Originally, this term referred to the divisions of a legion or armed force or a unit of a Roman legion. This comes from the Latin cohort and Latin word cohors.


  1. Cohort synonyms – 485 Words and Phrases for Cohort | Power Thesaurus 
  2. Cohort definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary
  3. cohort | Origin and meaning of cohort | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  4. Individual synonyms – 1 356 Words and Phrases for Individual | Power Thesaurus 
  5. cohort: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense