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From Latin consistens, present participle of cōnsistō (to agree with; to continue), from con- (prefix indicating a being or bringing together of several objects) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *ḱóm (beside, by, near, with)) + sistō (to cause to stand; to place, set) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *stísteh₂ti (to be standing up; to be getting up), from the root *steh₂- (to stand (up))).



consistent (comparative more consistent, superlative most consistent)

  1. Of a regularly occurring, dependable nature. [from late 16th c. in the obsolete sense ‘consisting of’]
    The consistent use of Chinglish in China can be very annoying, apart from some initial amusement.
    He is very consistent in his political choices: economy good or bad, he always votes Labour!
  2. Compatible, accordant.
    • 1719 April 25, [Daniel Defoe], The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, [], London: Printed by W[illiam] Taylor [], OCLC 15864594; 3rd edition, London: Printed by W[illiam] Taylor [], 1719, OCLC 838630407, page 43:
      As I had once done thus in my breaking away from my Parents, ſo I could not be content now, but I must go and leave the happy View I had of being a rich and thriving Man in my new Plantation, only to purſue a raſh and immoderate Deſire of riſing faſter than the Nature of the Thing admitted; and thus I caſt myself down again into the deepeſt Gulph of human Miſery that ever Man fell into, or perhaps could be conſiſtent with Life and a State of Health in the World.
    • 1813 January 27, [Jane Austen], chapter XIX, in Pride and Prejudice: A Novel. In Three Volumes, volume I, London: Printed [by George Sidney] for T[homas] Egerton, [], OCLC 38659585, page 251:
      When I do myself the honour of speaking to you next on the subject, I shall hope to receive a more favourable answer than you have now given me; though I am far from accusing you of cruelty at present, because I know it to be the established custom of your sex to reject a man on the first application, and perhaps you have even now said as much to encourage my suit as would be consistent with the true delicacy of the female character.
    • 2012 January, Steven Sloman, “The Battle between Intuition and Deliberation [review of Thinking, Fast and Slow (2011) by Daniel Kahneman]”, in American Scientist[1], volume 100, number 1, archived from the original on 8 January 2012, page 74:
      Libertarian paternalism is the view that, because the way options are presented to citizens affects what they choose, society should present options in a way that "nudges" our intuitive selves to make choices that are more consistent with what our more deliberative selves would have chosen if they were in control.
  3. (logic) Of a set of statements: such that no contradiction logically follows from them.
    • 1857, William Spalding, “Introduction”, in An Introduction to Logical Science: Being a Reprint of the Article “Logic” from the Eighth Edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica, Edinburgh: Adam and Charles Black, chapter II (The Function and Axioms of Logical Science), paragraph 12(2), pages 22–23:
      When we ask whether ideas or terms are consistent or inconsistent with each other, the question really is, in what manner the relation presupposed between the ideas qualifies them for being combined as terms of a judgment.
    • 2008, Charles Petzold, “Centuries of Progress”, in The Annotated Turing: A Guided Tour through Alan Turing’s Historic Paper on Computability and the Turing Machine, Indianapolis, Ind.: Wiley Publishing, →ISBN, page 39:
      Part of establishing a foundation for geometry was demonstrating that the axioms were consistent – that they could never lead to contradictions.


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consistent (plural consistents)

  1. (in the plural, rare) Objects or facts that are coexistent, or in agreement with one another.
    • 1661, Galileo Galilei; Thomas Salusbury, transl., “Galilæus: Galilæus Lincæus, His Systeme of the World. The Second Dialogue.”, in Mathematical Collections and Translations, volume I, part I, London: William Leybourne, OCLC 863523362, pages 234–235:
      The Diurnal motion of the primum mobile, is it not from Eaſt to Weſt? And the annual motion of the Sun through the Ecliptick, is it not on the contrary from Weſt to Eaſt? How then can you make theſe motions being conferred on the Earth, of contraries to become conſiſtents?
  2. (Eastern Orthodoxy, historical) A kind of penitent who was allowed to assist at prayers, but was not permitted to receive the holy sacraments.
    • [1884, William E[dward] Addis; Thomas Arnold, “PENITENTIAL DISCIPLINE AND BOOKS”, in A Catholic Dictionary: Containing Some Account of the Doctrine, Discipline, Rites, Ceremonies, Councils, and Religious Orders of the Catholic Church, London: Kegan Paul, Trench, & Co., [], OCLC 64590647, page 651:
      [F]rom the fourth century onwards, the Eastern Church divided penitents into four classes. [] The consistentes (the last class—συστάντες, consistentes) "stand together with the faithful, and do not go out with the catechumens. Last comes participation in the sacraments (ἁγιασμάτων)."]



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consistent (masculine and feminine plural consistents)

  1. consistent

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