\ ə-ˈdäpt How to pronounce adopt (audio) \
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 \ ə-​ˌdäp-​tə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce adopt (audio) \ noun
adoptable \ ə-​ˈdäp-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce adopt (audio) \ 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 One of the first big projects in her presidency was to take a look at stormwater management in the village and adopt a master plan. Kaitlin Edquist,, "Marking a period of major leadership change, Northbrook’s longtime Village President Sandy Frum and Village Manager Richard Nahrstadt prepare to leave positions," 3 May 2021 Legislators must do their part and not adopt the Minnesota House changes to the tiered licensure program. Paula Cole, Star Tribune, "Don't expel talented teachers," 3 May 2021 Layered on top of that is Chapter 174, which gives police the right to collectively bargain and adopt local rules that supersede those established by Chapter 143. Emilie Eaton, San Antonio Express-News, "'A wake-up call for the union': Close race on Prop B signals need to address discipline in contract, experts say," 2 May 2021 People divorce, move, have children and adopt pets — all of these things can change the dynamic of a friendship. Washington Post, "Miss Manners: Affair disrupts longtime friend group," 1 May 2021 The government also launched the Urmia Lake Restoration Program (ULRP), which has endeavored, with mixed success, to wean nearby farmers off thirstier crops like sugar beets and adopt more efficient irrigation practices. Richard Stone, Science | AAAS, "After revival, Iran’s great salt lake faces new peril," 29 Apr. 2021 In 2019, the coalition built out its online presence, creating content to help people who foster, adopt or go through kinship care. Ashley Nguyen, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "How Wisconsin organizations supporting reproductive health and parenting weathered the pandemic," 28 Apr. 2021 Lastly, goal accomplishers will need to adopt two mindsets and equally stay present in each. Gregory Salsburg, Forbes, "Become A 'Goal Accomplisher,' Not A Goal Setter," 28 Apr. 2021 On the other hand, Jason Todd (Curran Walters) will abandon the Robin mantle, adopt the Red Hood alias, and become obsessed with taking down his former team. Chancellor Agard,, "Titans casts Mad Men alum as Scarecrow in season 3," 28 Apr. 2021

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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Time Traveler for adopt

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for adopt

Last Updated

7 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Adopt.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 May. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce adopt (audio) \
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 How to pronounce adopt (audio) \

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 How to pronounce adopt (audio) \ adjective
adoptability \ ə-​ˌdäp-​tə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē \ adverb
adoption \ ə-​ˈdäp-​shən How to pronounce adopt (audio) \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on adopt

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for adopt

Nglish: Translation of adopt for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of adopt for Arabic Speakers

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