verb \ ə-ˈdapt , a- \
|Updated on: 13 Jul 2018

Definition of adapt

adapted; adapting; adapts
: to make fit (as for a new use) often by modification
  • adapt the curriculum to students' needs
: to become adapted
  • adapt to a new enviroment

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Examples of adapt in a Sentence

  1. When children go to a different school, it usually takes them a while to adapt.

  2. She has adapted herself to college life quite easily.

  3. The camera has been adapted for underwater use.

  4. The clock was adapted to run on batteries.

  5. The movie was adapted from the book of the same title.

  6. adapting the movie for television

Recent Examples of adapt from the Web

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.

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."

Origin and Etymology of 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 1apt

Synonym Discussion of 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.
    • 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

ADAPT Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of adapt for English Language Learners

  • : 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

ADAPT Defined for Kids


verb \ ə-ˈdapt \

Definition of adapt for Students

adapted; adapting
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.

Word Root of adapt

The Latin word aptus, meaning “fit” or “suitable,” gives us the root apt or ept. Words from the Latin aptus have something to do with being fitting or suitable. Something apt fits just right into a situation. To adapt is to change in order to fit a situation better. Someone who is adept has suitable skills to perform a task well, while someone who is inept does not.

Medical Dictionary


transitive verb \ ə-ˈdapt \

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
: to become adapted : undergo adaptation

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to grant as a privilege or special favor

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