ad·​ap·​ta·​tion | \ˌa-ˌdap-ˈtā-shən, -dəp-\

Definition of adaptation 

1 : something that is adapted a new adaptation of an old recipe specifically : a composition rewritten into a new form a screen adaptation of a novel

2 : the act or process of adapting a process undergoing adaptation : the state of being adapted adaptation to changing circumstances

3 : adjustment to environmental conditions: such as

a : adjustment of a sense organ to the intensity or quality of stimulation

b : modification of an organism or its parts that makes it more fit for existence under the conditions of its environment : a heritable physical or behavioral trait that serves a specific function and improves an organism's fitness or survival

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Other Words from adaptation

adaptational \ -​shnəl , -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective
adaptationally adverb

Examples of adaptation in a Sentence

His stage adaptation of the novel was a success. The film is an adaptation of a book of the same title. The insect's evolutionary adaptations enable it to be almost invisible even when sitting in the middle of a leaf. a tool designed for easy adaptation
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Recent Examples on the Web

The visionary director Ivo van Hove storms the armory with his adaptation of Luchino Visconti’s screenplay, performed by actors of the Comédie-Française. Alexis Soloski, New York Times, "12 Plays and Musicals to Go to in N.Y.C. This Weekend," 12 July 2018 The Hunchback of Notre Dame Bay Area Musicals presents Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz’s musical stage adaptation of the classic underdog tale of a deformed bell-ringer who finds love and saves his community., "Theater capsule reviews and listings, week of July 15," 12 July 2018 Participants learn about birds and their special adaptations that help them survive. Linda Mcintosh,, "Woman of the Year awards given," 9 July 2018 Clooney will reportedly co-star in an upcoming adaptation of Joseph Heller's Catch-22, a mini-series which will appear on Hulu in America. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "George Clooney Was Hospitalized Following a Motorcycle Accident in Italy," 10 July 2018 The first task in climate adaptation is to overcome fatalism by creating community ties to build endurance and find solutions. The Christian Science Monitor, "Thai cave rescue: a metaphor on climate adaptation," 9 July 2018 In fact, some of the most pivotal scenes in the film adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks classic feature gorgeous buildings — particularly the house Noah (Ryan Gosling) renovates for Allie (Rachel McAdams). Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "The Mansion Noah Built For Allie In The Notebook Would Rent For An Insane Price," 6 July 2018 Since the start of season 1, some have been vocal about their disappointment in the small-screen adaptation of the classic series. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'Anne With an E' Star Amybeth McNulty Has the Best Response to Her Online Trolls," 6 July 2018 Lucy Liu, Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz starred in the first movie adaptation of the film in 2000, which was followed by sequel Charlie's Angles: Full Throttle in 2003. Ruby Buddemeyer, Marie Claire, "The Rumored Cast of the 'Charlie's Angels' Reboot Is So Freaking Good," 5 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'adaptation.' 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 adaptation

1597, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for adaptation

borrowed from French & Medieval Latin; French, going back to Middle French, borrowed from Medieval Latin adaptātiōn-, adaptātiō, from Latin adaptāre "to adapt" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of verbal action

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Last Updated

4 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for adaptation

The first known use of adaptation was in 1597

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English Language Learners Definition of adaptation

: something that is adapted; especially : a movie, book, play, etc., that is changed so that it can be presented in another form

: a change in a plant or animal that makes it better able to live in a particular place or situation

: the process of changing to fit some purpose or situation : the process of adapting


ad·​ap·​ta·​tion | \ˌa-ˌdap-ˈtā-shən \

Kids Definition of adaptation

1 : the act or process of changing to better suit a situation

2 : a body part or feature or a behavior that helps a living thing survive and function better in its environment


ad·​ap·​ta·​tion | \ˌad-ˌap-ˈtā-shən, -əp- \

Medical Definition of adaptation 

1 : the act or process of adapting : the state of being adapted his ingenious adaptation of the electric cautery knife to…surgery— George Blumer

2 : adjustment to environmental conditions: as

a : adjustment of a sense organ to the intensity or quality of stimulation

b : modification of an organism or its parts that makes it more fit for existence under the conditions of its environment — compare adjustment sense 1b

Other Words from adaptation

adaptational \ -​shnəl, -​shən-​ᵊl \ adjective
adaptationally \ -​ē \ adverb

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