Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


verb ad·just \ə-ˈjəst\

Simple Definition of adjust

  • : to change (something) in a minor way so that it works better

  • : to change the position of (something)

  • : to change in order to work or do better in a new situation

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of adjust

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 a :  to bring to a more satisfactory state: (1) :  settle, resolve (2) :  rectify b :  to make correspondent or conformable :  adapt c :  to bring the parts of to a true or more effective relative position <adjust a carburetor>

  3. 2 :  to reduce to a system :  regulate

  4. 3 :  to determine the amount to be paid under an insurance policy in settlement of (a loss)

  5. intransitive verb
  6. 1 :  to adapt or conform oneself (as to new conditions)

  7. 2 :  to achieve mental and behavioral balance between one's own needs and the demands of others

adjustabilityplay \-ˌjəs-tə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun
adjustableplay \-ˈjəs-tə-bəl\ adjective
adjustiveplay \-ˈjəs-tiv\ adjective

Examples of adjust in a sentence

  1. The car is easier to drive since the clutch was adjusted.

  2. I adjusted the volume on the radio.

  3. She adjusted the car seat so she could reach the pedals.

  4. Going to a new school can be difficult, but the kids will eventually adjust.

  5. It's hard to adjust myself to the idea that she's gone.

  6. He makes less money now, when you adjust for inflation, than he did 10 years ago.

Origin of adjust

Middle English ajusten, from Old French ajuster to make conform, from a- (from Latin ad-) + juste right, exact — more at just

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of adjust

adapt, adjust, accommodate, conform, reconcile mean to bring one thing into correspondence with another. adapt implies a modification according to changing circumstances <adapted themselves to the warmer climate>. adjust suggests bringing into a close and exact correspondence or harmony such as exists between parts of a mechanism <adjusted the budget to allow for inflation>. accommodate may suggest yielding or compromising to effect a correspondence <accommodated his political beliefs in order to win>. conform applies to bringing into accordance with a pattern, example, or principle <refused to conform to society's values>. reconcile implies the demonstration of the underlying compatibility of things that seem to be incompatible <tried to reconcile what he said with what I knew>.

ADJUST Defined for Kids


verb ad·just \ə-ˈjəst\

Definition of adjust for Students


  1. 1 :  to change (something) in a minor way to make it work better

  2. 2 :  to change the position of (something) <He adjusted his glasses.>

  3. 3 :  to become used to <He adjusted to a new school.>

Medical Dictionary


verb ad·just \ə-ˈjəst\

Medical Definition of adjust

  1. :  to bring about orientation or adaptation of (oneself)

  2. 1

  3. intransitive verb

  4. :  to adapt oneself (as to climate, food, or new working hours)

  5. 2:  to achieve mental and behavioral balance between one's own needs and the demands of others

adjustability \-ˌjəs-tə-ˈbil-ət-ē\play noun plural adjustabilities
adjustable \-ˈjəs-tə-bəl\play adjective
adjustive \-ˈjəs-tiv\play adjective

Law Dictionary


transitive verb ad·just

Legal Definition of adjust

  1. 1a :  to determine the amount to be paid under an insurance policy in settlement of (a loss) b :  to make new arrangements with creditors for the payment of (the debts of a debtor in bankruptcy)

  2. 2 :  to calculate in accordance with a system <adjusting the basis>

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up adjust? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a timid, meek, or unassertive person

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!


Which of these is a synonym of nonplus?

disapprove soothe reduce perplex
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.