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 actor has recently been directing episodes of his new Catch 22 adaptation for the studio, with the series now in post-production. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why George and Amal Clooney Didn't Attend Princess Eugenie's Royal Wedding," 12 Oct. 2018 Disney's action-packed, star-studded, and unbelievably vibrant adaptation is a darker twist on the classic tale. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "The Trailer for the New ‘Nutcracker’ Movie Is Here and It’s So Magical," 5 Sep. 2018 The adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s brief fairy tale delivers an hour of extraordinary variety, visual panache and theatrical coups. Lawrence Toppman, charlotteobserver, "‘Most Incredible’ show: Whatever it’s about, Charlotte needs more of it | Charlotte Observer," 16 Mar. 2018 Those original shows include Titans and Doom Patrol, as well as adaptations of Swamp Thing (expected around June) and Stargirl (expected in August). Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "DC Universe’s Doom Patrol arrives on February 15th," 21 Dec. 2018 Another is that ginger cake recipes rarely called for stout before Fleming’s adaptation took hold. Rebekah Denn, The Seattle Times, " writer Kristen Miglore’s book ‘Genius Desserts’ includes several sweet Seattle specialties," 27 Nov. 2018 Don't worry, though: Bravo's adaptation will still hook you. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Dirty John Is the Break I Didn’t Know I Needed From All the Christmas Cheer on TV," 26 Nov. 2018 Since the video’s debut in late June, social media has been alight with numerous adaptations of the dance routine. Rani Molla, Recode, "10 charts that sum up 2018 (so far)," 13 Aug. 2018 Others include adaptations of Isobel Wilkerson's The Warmth of Other Suns and Kate Andersen Brower's The Residence. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Julia Quinn's Bridgerton Family Series Is Heading to Netflix," 23 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

14 Jan 2019

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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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