cohort

\ \ [15] Etymologically, cohort is an ‘enclosed yard’. It comes via Old French cohorte from Latin cohors, a compound noun formed from the prefix com- ‘with’ and an element hortwhich also appears in Latin hortusgarden’ (source of English horticulture) and is related to English garden, yard, and the second element of orchard. From the underlying sense of ‘enclosed place’ it came to be applied to a crowd of people in such a place, and then more specifically to an infantry company in the Roman army. Its meaning has spread figuratively in English to ‘band of associates or accomplices’, whose frequent use in the plural led to the misapprehension that a single cohort was an ‘associate’ or ‘accomplice’ – a usage which emerged in American English in the mid 20th century.
\ \ The original form of the Latin word is well preserved in cohort, but it has also reached us, more thickly disguised, as court.
\ \ Cf.COURT, GARDEN, HORTICULTURE, ORCHARD, YARD

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • cohort — cohort, cohort analysis The term cohort originally referred to a Roman military unit, but it is now used to identify any group of people with a time specific common experience, such as graduating from school in the same year, or cohorts defined… …   Dictionary of sociology

  • Cohort — may refer to: Cohort (biology), a taxonomic term in biology Cohort (educational group), a group of students working together through the same academic curriculum Cohort (military unit), the basic tactical unit of a Roman legion Cohort… …   Wikipedia

  • cohort — UK US /ˈkəʊhɔːt/ noun [C ] ► a group of people who share a characteristic, usually age: »About 42% of women in this age cohort have a college degree. »This year s cohort of graduates will have particular difficulties finding jobs. ► a person or a …   Financial and business terms

  • cohort — A cohort (cohors) of the Roman army was an infantry unit equivalent to one tenth of a legion, and typically consisted of about 500 soldiers. In the plural it has often been used as a literary word for ‘army’, as in Byron s reference to… …   Modern English usage

  • Cohort — Co hort, n. [L. cohors, prop. an inclosure: cf. F. cohorte. See {Court}, n.] 1. (Rom. Antiq.) A body of about five or six hundred soldiers; the tenth part of a legion. [1913 Webster] 2. Any band or body of warriors. [1913 Webster] With him the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • cohort — I noun abettor, accessory, accomplice, aider and abettor, ally, assistant, associate, attendant, auxiliary, coadjutor, cohelper, cohors, collaborator, colleague, comate, companion, comrade, confederate, consociate, co operator, coworker, faithful …   Law dictionary

  • cohort — (n.) early 15c., company of soldiers, from M.Fr. cohorte (14c.) and directly from L. cohortem (nom. cohors) enclosure, meaning extended to infantry company in Roman army (a tenth part of a legion) through notion of enclosed group, retinue, from… …   Etymology dictionary

  • cohort — [n] partner in activity accomplice, adherent, aide, ally, assistant, associate, companion, company, comrade, confrere, consociate, contingent, disciple, follower, friend, hand, legion, mate, myrmidon, pal, partisan, regiment, satellite, sidekick …   New thesaurus

  • cohort — ► NOUN 1) an ancient Roman military unit, comprising six centuries and equal to one tenth of a legion. 2) a number of people banded together or treated as a group. 3) derogatory, chiefly N. Amer. a supporter or companion. ORIGIN Latin cohors yard …   English terms dictionary

  • cohort — [kō′hôrt΄] n. [ME < L cohors, enclosure, enclosed company, hence, retinue, crowd < co ,CO + IE * ĝhṛtis, a gathering < base * ĝher , to grasp, enclose > YARD2] 1. an ancient Roman military unit of 300 600 men, constituting one tenth… …   English World dictionary

  • cohort — /koh hawrt/, n. 1. a group or company: She has a cohort of admirers. 2. a companion or associate. 3. one of the ten divisions in an ancient Roman legion, numbering from 300 to 600 soldiers. 4. any group of soldiers or warriors. 5. an accomplice;… …   Universalium

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