adop·​tive | \ə-ˈdäp-tiv \

Definition of adoptive 

1 : made or acquired by adoption the adoptive father

2 : of or relating to adoption

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Other Words from adoptive

adoptively adverb

Examples of adoptive in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Selena faced a decent amount of criticism for her participation in Allen's film — especially since Dylan Farrow's allegations against her adoptive father have been in the public eye for many years. Devon Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Selena Gomez's New Film Might Actually Never Be Released," 30 Aug. 2018 Thanos’s cruel dynamic with his adoptive daughters, Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Nebula (Karen Gillan), continues to boil over. Tom Russo,, "In ‘Avengers: Infinity War,’ 23’s a crowd," 20 Apr. 2018 A day after authorities returned his wife from a Florida prison, Sandy Parsons was brought back to North Carolina on Wednesday to face murder and other charges in the gruesome death of their adoptive daughter, Erica Parsons. Joe Marusak, charlotteobserver, "Erica Parsons’ adoptive parents are both back in NC to face charges of murdering her | Charlotte Observer," 14 Mar. 2018 The final few episodes of season two were particularly emotional for Deja, Randall and Beth Pearson's foster child turned adoptive daughter. Maggie Maloney, Town & Country, "​This Is Us​ Season 3: Everything We Know So Far," 14 Mar. 2018 Authorities allege Sini and Wesley Mathews left their adoptive daughter Sherin alone on the evening of Oct. 6, 2017, to take their 3-year-old biological daughter out to dinner. Chris Harris,, "Tx. Dad Allegedly Murdered 3-Year-Old He Claimed He Left Outside as Punishment for Not Drinking Milk," 16 Jan. 2018 Texas officials moved quickly to find the three younger children an adoptive home. Joe Heim And Julie Tate,, "As children begged for help, adoption system failed them," 13 July 2018 Texas officials moved quickly to find the three younger children an adoptive home. Washington Post, "Abuse, neglect and a system that failed: The tragic lives of the Hart children," 12 July 2018 Texas officials moved quickly to find the three younger children an adoptive home. Joe Heim And Julie Tate, Houston Chronicle, "As Hart children begged for help, system failed them," 12 July 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for adoptive

Middle English adoptif, borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French adoptif, going back to Old French, borrowed from Latin adoptīvus, from adoptāre "to adopt" + -īvus -ive

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Statistics for adoptive

Last Updated

24 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for adoptive

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

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English Language Learners Definition of adoptive

—used to describe a parent who has adopted a child


adop·​tive | \ə-ˈdäp-tiv \

Legal Definition of adoptive 

1a : having adopted an adoptive parent

b : having been adopted an adoptive child

2 : made or acquired by accepting as one's own the words or actions of another to constitute an adoptive admission…defendant must actually understand what was said and have an opportunity to deny itUnited States v. White, 766 F. Supp. 873 (1991)

More from Merriam-Webster on adoptive

Spanish Central: Translation of adoptive

Nglish: Translation of adoptive for Spanish Speakers

Comments on adoptive

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


to make faulty or ineffective

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