\ə-ˈdäpt \
adopted; adopting; adopts

Definition of adopt 

transitive verb

1 : to take by choice into a relationship especially : to take voluntarily (a child of other parents) as one's own child

2 : to take up and practice or use adopted a moderate tone

3 : to accept formally and put into effect adopt a constitutional amendment

4 : to choose (a textbook) for required study in a course

5 : to sponsor the care and maintenance of adopt a highway

intransitive verb

: to adopt a child couples choosing to adopt

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Other Words from adopt

adoptability \ -​ˌdäp-​tə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē \ noun
adoptable \ -​ˈdäp-​tə-​bəl \ adjective
adopter noun

Choose the Right Synonym for adopt

adopt, embrace, espouse mean to take an opinion, policy, or practice as one's own. adopt implies accepting something created by another or foreign to one's nature. forced to adopt new policies embrace implies a ready or happy acceptance. embraced the customs of their new homeland espouse adds an implication of close attachment to a cause and a sharing of its fortunes. espoused the cause of women's rights

Examples of adopt in a Sentence

They were unable to have children of their own, so they decided to adopt. They decided to adopt a child. He was adopted as an infant. Did he adopt your point of view? We adopted some of the local customs. The author Samuel Clemens adopted the name “Mark Twain.” He was born in England but he has adopted Canada as his home. The assembly adopted a new constitution. The resolution was unanimously adopted by the Senate.
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Recent Examples on the Web

This month, the Charlotte City Council approved a budget that includes $4 million for the Charlotte BIKES plan, adopted last year by the city council in an effort to build a bike-friendly city. Leah Asmelash, charlotteobserver, "Think Charlotte's a terrible city for biking? Here's how the city hopes to change that.," 21 June 2018 On Tuesday, as Juneteenth—the holiday marking the end of slavery—was observed, the City Council of Charleston, S.C., decided to adopt a resolution apologizing for the city’s role in the slave trade. Breanna Edwards, The Root, "Charleston, SC, Apologizes for Its Role During the Slave Trade in City Council Resolution," 20 June 2018 In 2015, San Antonio was the first Texas city to join Vision Zero, which began in Sweden in the 1990s, took hold throughout Europe and now has been adopted in New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Austin, among other U.S. cities. Bruce Selcraig, San Antonio Express-News, "Traffic engineers struggle to curb pedestrian deaths," 19 June 2018 Soon after connecting with the organization, the couple volunteered to foster three puppies from their rescue ranch who were too young to be adopted. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "The Humans Behind Famous Instagram Account 'Harlow and Sage' Are Part of the Sweetest Rescue Mission," 19 June 2018 Meanwhile, New York adopts a similar road map, no longer prosecuting stuff like public urination. Fox News, "President Trump puts NATO on notice," 12 July 2018 The Bells and eight other families adopted through the Great Wall Adoption Agency in Austin, Texas. NBC News, "Staying connected: Why these nine adoptees from China reunite annually," 11 July 2018 The Trump administration could adopt this as a premise of its asylum policy. Dara Lind, Vox, "A new study blows up Trump’s “catch-and-release” myth," 11 July 2018 To Enter: Upload a photo of your dog to (between July 10 and July 30), then tell us how adopting a pet changed your life — and the life of your pet. Kelli Bender,, "Do You Have the World's Cutest Rescue Dog? People and Pedigree Want to Turn Them Into a Star!," 10 July 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for adopt

Middle English adopten, borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French adopter, borrowed from Latin adoptāre, from ad- ad- + optāre "to express a wish for, desire, choose, decide on" — more at option entry 1

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Statistics for adopt

Last Updated

5 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for adopt

The first known use of adopt was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for adopt



English Language Learners Definition of adopt

: to take a child of other parents legally as your own child

: to begin to use or have (a different manner, method, etc.)

: to begin to use (a name that is not your real or original name)


\ə-ˈdäpt \
adopted; adopting

Kids Definition of adopt

1 : to legally take a child of other parents to raise

2 : to take up as someone's own After moving to Quebec, he adopted French as his language.

3 : to accept and put into action The state adopted a law requiring drivers to wear seat belts.

\ə-ˈdäpt \

Legal Definition of adopt 

1 : to take voluntarily (a child of other parents) as one's own child especially in compliance with formal legal procedures — see also equitable adoption

2 : to take or accept as if one's own [the company] adopted the signature on the financing statementBarber-Greene Co. v. Nat'l City Bank of Minneapolis, 816 F.2d 1267 (1987)

3 : to accept formally and put into effect adopt a constitutional amendment

Other Words from adopt

adoptable \ ə-​ˈdäp-​tə-​bəl \ adjective
adoptability \ ə-​ˌdäp-​tə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē \ adverb
adoption \ ə-​ˈdäp-​shən \ noun

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Comments on adopt

What made you want to look up adopt? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something that serves to warn or remind

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