from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Of or relating to synergy: a synergistic effect.
  • adj. Producing or capable of producing synergy: synergistic drugs.
  • adj. Christianity Of or relating to synergism.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Of or pertaining to synergy or synergism; co-operative, working together, interacting, mutually stimulating.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of or pertaining to synergism.
  • adj. Coöperating; synergetic.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Of or relating to synergism; of the nature of synergism: as, the synergistic controversy (a controversy in the Lutheran Church, in the sixteenth century, regarding synergism).
  • Working together; coöperating.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. used especially of drugs or muscles that work together so the total effect is greater than the sum of the two (or more)
  • adj. working together; used especially of groups, as subsidiaries of a corporation, cooperating for an enhanced effect
  • adj. of or relating to the theological doctrine of synergism


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Mr. Stemmler: There are roughly 2,500 back office people at Frontier in Denver that are what they call synergistic cost centers.

    Pilots: One Key

  • One of the longer term synergistic benefits of the EPOC acquisition is that it may provide us some flexibility to rationalize some of our product that we ship into Taiwan today from North America and Japan and we fully believe that there's some synergies there and some cost reductions related to that opportunity. Home Page

  • Phase Four (’00s) Popularity of I Love the ’80s leads to avalanche of cheaply produced pop culture-themed originals; superfluous awards shows and tabloid programming (Driven, The Fabulous Life Of) abound; music videos quietly migrate to the wee hours only; increased influence from corporate owner Viacom results in synergistic nightmares such as ET on VH-1; trashy “Celebreality” programming brings gainful employment to has-been celebrities; catches up with MTV in its tenuous connection with music.

    Four Phases of VH-1 :

  • A new study out of Spain says the Mediterranean may actually prevent depression due to what researchers are calling a synergistic combination of good fats from olive oil and nuts, antioxidants from fruits and even B vitamins from my favorite part of the diet, a glass of red wine.

    CNN Transcript Oct 6, 2009

  • They're going to look at the whole gamut, because it's quite possible that the drugs that are in his system by themselves are not fatal, but, when taken in combination, you have what is called a synergistic effect.

    CNN Transcript Jun 26, 2009

  • That's due to what researchers are calling a synergistic combination of good fats from olive oil and nuts, antioxidants from fruits and even B vitamins from a glass of red wine.

    CNN Transcript Oct 6, 2009

  • The optimal pattern of interaction is synergistic, that is, one in which each part functions in a way that enhances the welfare of the other parts as well as its own.

    Dimensions of Wholeness (from the PARABLE OF THE TRIBES)

  • He cites Radio Shack® as an example of this model, whereby business owners are recruited on the idea of synergistic expansion within a current successful retail operation.

    An Alternative to “Do-it-Yourself” Managed Services

  • African Development Community (SADC), namely synergistic regional initiatives that aim at the economic, social and conservation development of the subcontinent.

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • AAPL), will add a long term synergistic income stream to compliment Google's search engine.

    The Changing Face Of Google


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  • A well-argued objection, niels. I will concede the point, while mentally adding "over a certain combination of dose-ranges*" to the sentence "Cephalosporins and aminoglycosides are synergistic".

    Some of my antipathy to this, and related, words undoubtedly stems from the occasion when our corporate division (I used to work for a biotech company) was reorganised in some particularly stupid fashion, with the stated goal of "leveraging our synergies". I got into a certain amount of trouble for asking the V.P. to explain (in public) what that phrase could possibly mean.

    *: cf. Paracelsus, on the importance of specifying dose - or Kelvin, on the importance of adequate measurement. Though, of course, that would be the same Lord Kelvin who attained a certain notoriety with his premature declaration of the end of physics as a discipline, just as things were starting to heat up in a big way.

    December 30, 2008

  • As a physics guy, I understand your idea, and that's a great point about the use of *synergic* in *mathematics*, but synergistic is a common word in biology, and it at least works: syn = together, erg = work, istic = have some characteristics of.

    Cephalosporins and aminoglycosides are synergistic.

    Cephalosporins and aminoglycosides have some characteristics that work together.

    And, to really round out the definition, -istic tends to be a bit prejorative: they work together, but not really. Which is also true. First, the drugs don't per se *do* any work. And it's not like they interact. It just so happens that if you put the two in the same patient, they kill the same bacteria in different ways, ways that don't interfere with each other. So, synergistic, as far as terrible latin goes, is fairly accurate.

    Still wouldn't use it on a first date. Or any date.

    December 30, 2008

  • Actually, this 'word' belongs not only on the list of words which should be avoided on a first date - it should never be used at all. Especially if you work in a business or corporate setting.

    One might think that pharmacologists should be allowed a pass, but they keep using synergism and synergistic in a way that is logically incoherent*.

    *: Briefly, the strict definition of synergism involves the notion of local convexity of a particular surface, so it is a local, not a global property. But local convexity is one of those concepts that even mathematicians start to get gnarly about. But think about the shape of the 2-D surface defined by the height of the Rockies as one moves north and east (say) - it will be convex in some places and concave in others. The convexity of Mount Kilimanjaro would presumably be more regularly behaved.

    My overall point being that this is a totally skunked term - it has been coopted into meaninglessness by the corpspeak types, but never really had a clear, unambivalent definition to begin with. If your date is impressed by it, find one (a date) with a more demanding mind.

    June 10, 2008