\ 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 Across the world, the virus has forced the devout to adapt their practices — from virtual prayer services to sanitizing icons that are traditionally kissed. Washington Post, "2020: The year of the virus," 31 Dec. 2020 Here’s a visually striking, easily digestible feature about an experiment underway in Bordeaux to adapt winemaking to climate change, in the Washington Post. Esther Mobley,, "The most overlooked wine stories of 2020," 31 Dec. 2020 Many businesses closed, and companies that remained open had to pivot, adapt, and innovate to ensure the safety of their employees and customers while protecting the business. Johnny C. Taylor Jr., USA TODAY, "Is my workplace being ageist? Ask HR," 30 Dec. 2020 But if a group is Zoomable, members adapt and keep going. Katy Read, Star Tribune, "New Sociables helps women in southern Twin Cities suburbs form bonds, fend off loneliness," 25 Dec. 2020 The human body can adapt relatively quickly to cold temperatures. New York Times, "When the Weather Outside Is Frightful, Here’s How to Stay Warm," 21 Dec. 2020 As the internet has sparked a massive increase in parcel deliveries and a sharp drop in letter writing, Royal Mail must adapt its business, and drones are a step in that direction. Charlotte Ryan,, "Royal Mail Brings Scottish Island Closer With Drone Delivery," 16 Dec. 2020 Lordstown will likely adapt its platform to accommodate an RV and will work on a battery for travel trailers that can be integrated by companies such as Thor that build fifth wheels. Roberto Baldwin, Car and Driver, "Lordstown Motors, Camping World Will Build an Electric RV Together," 15 Dec. 2020 Any business must adapt as technology and consumer tastes change. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Breaking Up Facebook," 10 Dec. 2020

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

6 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Adapt.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for adapt


How to pronounce adapt (audio)

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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Comments on adapt

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