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 less said about the overwrought 1999 adaptation, the better, despite a stellar cast that included Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Owen Wilson, and Lili Taylor. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Haunting of Hill House," 22 Oct. 2018 As Vanity Fair notes, Streisand used her own clothes in her adaptation of A Star Is Born. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "10 A Star Is Born Easter Eggs That You May Have Missed," 8 Oct. 2018 Fans of the 1994 movie version of Little Women, starring Winona Ryder and Christian Bale, are probably a little trepidatious about the forthcoming adaptation of the story. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Greta Gerwig's Little Women: Everything You Need to Know," 26 Aug. 2018 The news comes as something of a surprise given Smith's previous negative comments about a potential film adaptation of the show. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Maggie Smith Will Appear in the New Downton Abbey Film as the Dowager Countess," 17 July 2018 Additional info about the film adaptation of Artemis—director, stars, release date—is TBD. Andrew Moseman, Popular Mechanics, "'Artemis' by Andy Weir Is Getting the Movie Treatment," 17 July 2018 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

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

18 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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by force of circumstances

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