\ ə-ˈdapt How to pronounce adapt (audio) , a- \
adapted; adapting; adapts

Definition of adapt

transitive verb

: to make fit (as for a new use) often by modification adapt the curriculum to students' needs

intransitive verb

: to become adapted adapt to a new environment

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Choose the Right Synonym for adapt

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. businesses accommodating themselves to the new political reality 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

Did You Know?

Rooted in the origins of "adapt" is the idea of becoming specifically "fit" for something. English speakers adapted "adapt" in the 15th century from the French adapter, which itself traces to the Latin forms aptare, meaning "to fit," and aptus, meaning "fit" or "apt." Other descendants of "aptus" in English include "aptitude," "inept," and of course "apt" itself, as well as "unapt" and "inapt."

Examples of adapt in a Sentence

When children go to a different school, it usually takes them a while to adapt. She has adapted herself to college life quite easily. The camera has been adapted for underwater use. The clock was adapted to run on batteries. The movie was adapted from the book of the same title. adapting the movie for television
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Recent Examples on the Web Called Fuchsia, the new OS would supposedly have many advantages over Android and Chrome, including a dynamic user interface that would adapt to any device, regardless of screen or interface. Jacob Siegal, BGR, "Google released an exciting upgrade to a resource most people won’t even recognize," 4 Mar. 2021 By any measure, the cloud computing model fits this dynamic environment better than giant, complex on-premise systems that cost a fortune, take years to implement and can’t adapt to market, organizational or process changes. Dave Opsahl, Forbes, "Why Cloud Computing Is Essential To Modern Manufacturing," 4 Mar. 2021 All screenwriters and producers who adapt a Wattpad story are given access to these data insights. Adam Epstein, Quartz, "The company using robots and fan input to pitch stories to Hollywood," 27 Feb. 2021 Today, the marsh has been restored with tidal plants that can adapt to sea level rise. John King,, "After 45 years saving and restoring regional land, the East Bay’s top park official is stepping down," 25 Dec. 2020 Adopt Zoom or FaceTime game nights with games that adapt well to video chat, such as Yahtzee or Pictionary. Melinda Fulmer, Los Angeles Times, "Everyone is stressed and anxious this holiday season. 7 ways to cope," 16 Dec. 2020 The military has had to adapt its training, deployments, and exercises to mitigate the spread of COVID, but the impact on readiness has been minimal, Taliaferro testified. Jamie Mcintyre, Washington Examiner, "Austin to face a barrage of questions at first Pentagon news conference," 18 Feb. 2021 Cooking shows are one more ecosystem that has had to adapt in the wake of the coronavirus. Sharyn Jackson, Star Tribune, "TPT's 'Relish' becomes a cooking show for the COVID era," 16 Feb. 2021 Hall said as police departments have had to adapt to public demands of transparency and accountability, federal agencies have not., "Arizona ranks No. 1 for shootings by US Marshals Service task forces, investigation shows," 11 Feb. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'adapt.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of adapt

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for adapt

Middle English adapted (as translation of Latin adaptātus), borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French adapter, borrowed from Latin adaptāre, from ad- ad- + aptāre "to put into position, bring to bear, make ready," verbal derivative of aptus "fastened, prepared, suitable" — more at apt entry 1

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Time Traveler for adapt

Time Traveler

The first known use of adapt was in the 15th century

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Statistics for adapt

Last Updated

7 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Adapt.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for adapt



English Language Learners Definition of adapt

: to change your behavior so that it is easier to live in a particular place or situation
: to change (something) so that it functions better or is better suited for a purpose
: to change (a movie, book, play, etc.) so that it can be presented in another form


\ ə-ˈdapt How to pronounce adapt (audio) \
adapted; adapting

Kids Definition of adapt

1 : to change behavior so that it is easier to function in a particular place or situation He easily adapted to high school.
2 : to make or become suitable or able to function The camera was adapted for underwater use.
\ ə-ˈdapt How to pronounce adapt (audio) \

Medical Definition of adapt

: to make fit (as for a specific or new use or situation) often by modification adapted himself to the new position

intransitive verb

: to become adapted : undergo adaptation

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More from Merriam-Webster on adapt

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for adapt

Nglish: Translation of adapt for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of adapt for Arabic Speakers

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