\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

The agreement, adopted by the Board of Supervisors in 2015, says the hospital is to be named the Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center for 50 years. Casey Newton, The Verge, "A looming strike over Project Dragonfly is putting new pressure on Google," 30 Nov. 2018 Young Ian adopts a canine companion in the coming season named Rollo. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Outlander Season 4: Everything We Know," 26 Oct. 2018 Proponents, however, insisted the resolution was nearly identical to one adopted by consensus at the council last year, which created the group of three experts plus staffers. Jamey Keaten, Fox News, "UN rights body renews experts' probe of Yemen crimes," 28 Sep. 2018 After wedding Carol, McCain quickly adopted Doug and his younger brother, Andy. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "How John McCain's Children Were Shaped by His Political Career," 27 Aug. 2018 For someone like Henry, a Black man adopted by a religious white family in a mostly white suburban-to-rural neighborhood, life wasn't exactly nice., "Handmaid’s Tale," 13 July 2018 The regulations adopted Thursday by the California Public Utilities Commission basically extend to PG&E and Edison the same rules the commission already applied to San Diego. David R. Baker,, "To prevent fires, California sets new rules for shutting off power lines," 12 July 2018 Zsa Zsa, who is named after actress Zsa Zsa Gabor, spent five years in a puppy mill in Missouri before being adopted by Brainard and her husband. Rebecca Bratek, CBS News, "Zsa Zsa, the "World's Ugliest Dog," dies less than a month after securing title," 11 July 2018 The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Monday that the dispute stems from Allegiant pilots not being allowed to choose days off based on seniority, which is different from systems adopted by nearly all other carriers. Ron Hurtibise,, "Allegiant Air pilots authorize strike over 'sham' work scheduling system," 9 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

3 Dec 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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More from Merriam-Webster on adopt

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with adopt

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for adopt

Spanish Central: Translation of adopt

Nglish: Translation of adopt for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of adopt for Arabic Speakers

Comments on adopt

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living or existing for a long time

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