\ 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. 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

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 On-campus students will also adapt to the new online learning program in their classrooms which be also be assessable to them away from school if needed. Alvaro Montano, Houston Chronicle, "Tomball ISD announces return to school options for 2020 fall semester," 11 July 2020 But for some who need help, their willingness to adapt affirms advocates’ message from all along, pandemic or not: Recovery is possible. Sarah Matusek, The Christian Science Monitor, "Addiction, hope, and recovery in the time of COVID-19," 8 July 2020 Engineers decided to take the translation software and adapt it to a mask, and after a few prototypes, the mask went online to seek funding. Cailey Rizzo, Travel + Leisure, "This Face Mask Can Translate What You're Saying Into 8 Languages," 8 July 2020 Bay Area teens such as Sophia Riva of Clayton are learning one vital life skill: how to adapt. Ron Kroichick,, "Bay Area students facing turbulent summer job market adapt on the fly," 6 July 2020 After a few months, people's bodies naturally adapt to the status quo, a state of internal stability that biologists call homeostasis. Ryan Prior, CNN, "How to find resilience during the coronavirus pandemic," 2 July 2020 So much so that Hulu has now doubled down and signed on alongside the BBC to adapt her first novel, Conversations With Friends, as well. Maureen Lee Lenker,, "How Hollywood is using a book club approach to adapt hit novels," 1 July 2020 So generation after generation, a species would adapt to city life. Matt Simon, Wired, "The Anthropause: How the Pandemic Gives Scientists a New Way to Study Wildlife," 29 June 2020 Eran Ben-Porath, executive vice president of Public Opinion Research at SSRS, a research and polling company, told Fortune that experts are still trying to figure out how to adapt exit polls to this new reality. Nicole Goodkind, Fortune, "The coronavirus pandemic is changing political polling as we know it," 24 June 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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Last Updated

28 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Adapt.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on adapt

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for adapt

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with adapt

Spanish Central: Translation of adapt

Nglish: Translation of adapt for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of adapt for Arabic Speakers

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