The word “coalesce” has Latin roots that mean “to be nourished together,” or more loosely, “to grow up together.”
When things coalesce, they join, merge, or combine into one. In other words, to coalesce is to unite.
That’s the meaning we use most of the time. But occasionally, when we talk about thoughts, feelings, or other invisible things coalescing, we mean they’re becoming real, becoming solid, or becoming well-defined, as if their separate little pieces are clumping into a more understandable whole. In other words, to coalesce can also mean to become clear, real, and easy to notice.
Part of speech:
verb, usually the intransitive kind: “this coalesced with that,” “the two things coalesced,” “the three groups coalesced into one,” “all these members coalesced around this issue.”
Other common forms:
There’s “coalesced” and “coalescing.” And if you need an adjective, “coalescent.”
A “coalition” is a group made up of different parts that, naturally, have coalesced.
That noun, “coalition,” often refers to corporate or political groups. When you need to describe, instead, things that have coalesced in a biological way, or a figurative way, call them a “coalescence.”
how to use it:
This word has a positive tone and a beautiful Latin sound.
We use it in fields like botany, zoology, politics, and business, but it’s great for general conversation, too. Especially when you need to express your idea in a formal, serious, graceful way.
Talk about separate things coalescing, or about things coalescing into some whole, or about things coalescing around some shared, important part or goal.
“A Level Three Awkward Silence began to coalesce around us, like interstellar hydrogen pulled together by gravity to form a new nebula.”
— Adib Khorram, Darius the Great Is Not Okay, 2018
“Zion (Williamson) and his Pelicans are coalescing into something truly special. Williamson is the future of the NBA, and so are the Pelicans.”
— Oliver Connolly, The Guardian, 21 June 2019