\ 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

District-level staff pulled surveillance footage connected to the incident, as required by the use-of-force policy adopted two years ago, before identifying the incident for review by SIRT and eventually the state’s attorney. Talia Richman,, "'I only ever wanted justice,' says 18-year-old allegedly assaulted by Baltimore officer," 14 July 2018 After adopting Markis, Hannah and Abigail in 2006, Jennifer stayed home with the kids. Joe Heim And Julie Tate,, "As children begged for help, adoption system failed them," 13 July 2018 The 2001 USA Patriot Act, adopted after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, added new requirements. Telis Demos, WSJ, "Rules Designed to Catch Terrorists Cost This Unsuspecting Customer Her Bank Account," 13 July 2018 Despite its size the company prides itself on cooking from scratch and adopting environmentally sound sourcing policies. Michael Bauer,, "Stem Kitchen and Garden in Mission Bay: Go before it’s ‘discovered’," 12 July 2018 Several years ago, when Ohio adopted legislation permitting concealed carry, there was a debate as to whether the permits should be public record. Jack Greiner,, "Concealed carry: Why keeping Ohio's concealed carry permit records secret could be dangerous," 11 July 2018 At first, priority was assigned to the Big Ten Conference, which now has seven men’s hockey programs and would grow to eight if Illinois adopts the sport. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "Ice hockey on campus? University of Louisville has 'preliminary' chat," 10 July 2018 For instance, OTAS’ Doris notes many internal-use chips that don’t come to market become pet projects for senior technologists, and a change of regime often means adopting the industry standard instead. Andy Patrizio, Ars Technica, "The AI revolution has spawned a new chips arms race," 9 July 2018 Both sides have been firmly entrenched, even as NBA commissioner Adam Silver has suggested that travel, and not a deference to tradition, represents the main obstacle to adopting a top-16 playoff format that eschews conference designations. Ben Golliver,, "2018 NBA Free Agency: The Early Winners And Losers," 5 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

10 Sep 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

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