Word of the Week: Cogent

This week’s “Word of the Week” is cogent.  According to Webster’s College Dictionary, cogent is an adjective that means “convincing” or “believable.”  Additionally, The Merriam-Webster Thesaurus defines cogent as “having the power to persuade” and as synonymous with “compelling,” “conclusive,” “effective,” “forceful,” and “persuasive.”  Understandably, cogency is a highly desirable quality in oral and written communication.

Let’s look at some examples of cogent from recent news articles.

“In its place, a former FBI profiler hired by the Paterno team offered an analysis that excused the former coach’s lack of immediate action as the byproduct of a preconceived notion of Mr. Sandusky’s character and poor communication from the witness, former graduate assistant Mike McQueary.  It was a glaring gap in an otherwise cogent rebuttal to the university-commissioned investigation that implicated Mr. Paterno in a high-level conspiracy with university President Graham Spanier, athletic director Tim Curley and Vice President Gary Schultz to hide allegations against Mr. Sandusky from law enforcement for more than a decade.” http://bit.ly/WSkdaH

“The digitized British Library manuscript is a fascinating artifact in itself, just to browse. You don’t need a translation to appreciate the beauty and wonder of Leonardo’s mind. This is a great work of art, in a precociously conceptual genre that has been emulated by modern artists such as Joseph Beuys and Cy Twombly. But if you do want to get to grips with the detail of Leonardo’s ideas, a good place to start is the OUP edition of the Notebooks selected by Irma Richter and updated by Thereza Wells. Meanwhile the works of Martin Kemp offer the most lucid modern dissection of the structures of Leonardo’s thought. With these at your side, the sea of words and images the British Library has put online will start to resolve into cogent arguments.” http://bit.ly/XYCWkl

“To avoid and correct a plethora of misinformation, researchers, academic journals, industry, government officials, popular media journalists, and the public share a collective obligation to ensure accuracy and honesty. As professionals in the realm of health science, messaging, and policy implementation, we have a responsibility to ensure that the information disseminated to the public is cogent and factual, not simply based on correlation or, worse, marketability. As consumers, we have the responsibility to ask for proof of health-related claims and declarations. For, only by impartially educating ourselves — from consumer to journalist to researcher — can we ensure that the information we guide our lives by is reasonable, reliable and true.” http://huff.to/VBc1gF

“All of which comprises an oddly reasonable perspective from a player who could hardly be characterized as such during the PR disaster that was Howard’s 2011-12 season. His words don’t come with any veiled hints as to his preference to be elsewhere and he’s presenting a perfectly cogent case for his own desire to enter free agency. For a player with an earned reputation for saying and doing the wrong things, Howard is largely hitting the right beats as he trudges through yet another season with an uncertain future. (In so far as his free agent fate, Howard says that he has been assured he would not be dealt before the trade deadline, according to Ken Berger of CBS Sports.)” http://bit.ly/12DIpkL

“The North Carolina Court of Appeals will hear arguments Wednesday afternoon from a former Durham County District Attorney who claims she was wrongfully removed from office. Tracey Cline lost her position last March after Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood said he found ‘clear, cogent and convincing’ evidence that Cline had ‘brought the office of the Durham County District Attorney and the entire Durham County justice system into disrepute’ through her repeated public criticisms of Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson. Cline alleged in court filings that Hudson was biased against her and her office and asked to have him barred from handling criminal cases in Durham County. She will argue those points again Wednesday at 1 p.m. in front of the Court of Appeals.” http://bit.ly/XgL8g1

For more information on cogent, please visit the following Web sites:

Works Cited:
“Cogent.” The Merriam-Webster Thesaurus. 2005. Print.
“Cogent.” Webster’s College Dictionary. 2nd Ed., 2001. Print.


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