adult

adjective
\ ə-ˈdəlt How to pronounce adult (audio) , ˈa-ˌdəlt How to pronounce adult (audio) \

Definition of adult

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : fully developed and mature : grown-up an adult lion
2 : of, relating to, intended for, or befitting adults an adult approach to a problem
3 : dealing in or with explicitly sexual material adult bookstores adult movies

adult

noun

Definition of adult (Entry 2 of 3)

: one that is adult especially : a human being after an age (such as 21) specified by law

adult

verb
adulted; adulting; adults

Definition of adult (Entry 3 of 3)

intransitive verb

informal
1 : to behave like an adult : to attend to the ordinary tasks required of a responsible adult Do we really have to adult today?— Lauren Merola Stop complaining that you have to adult today. Being an adult is awesome.— Suzanne Lucas Learning how to "adult" is a necessity for these college freshmen in order to figure out new medication schedules and if their parents' insurance will cover impromptu ER visits.— Meredith Newman
2 : to become an adult It could be something small, like bailing on your friends at the last second. Or something bigger, like not showing up for work. Whatever the case may be, it's a sign you haven't fully "adulted" if you constantly slack off on your responsibilities.— Carolyn Steber But there is one real benefit to growing older and adulting: We essentially get to do whatever we want to do.— Sharon Pope

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Other Words from adult

Adjective

adulthood \ ə-​ˈdəlt-​ˌhu̇d How to pronounce adulthood (audio) \ noun
adultly \ ə-​ˈdəlt-​lē How to pronounce adultly (audio) , ˈa-​ˌdəlt-​ \ adverb
adultness \ ə-​ˈdəlt-​nəs How to pronounce adultness (audio) , ˈa-​ˌdəlt-​ \ noun

Noun

adultlike \ ə-​ˈdəlt-​ˌlīk How to pronounce adultlike (audio) \ adjective

Verb

adulting noun
True financial adulting goes beyond paying your bills on time. It's also about planning for the future. — Mary Crawley Adulting does not have to be scary. Some students … feel as though they are comfortable with their ability to live on their own. But for those who do not, Residence Life at Elizabethtown College will hold another series of adulting sessions after Spring Break. These will be open to all students to try to help ease the transition out of college. — Meghan Kenney

Synonyms & Antonyms for adult

Synonyms: Adjective

grown-up, mature

Synonyms: Noun

grown-up

Antonyms: Adjective

adolescent, immature

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Examples of adult in a Sentence

Adjective

preparing children for adult life We need to approach this in an adult way.

Noun

Her books appeal both to children and to adults. Children must be accompanied by an adult in the museum. Only adults can purchase alcohol. This film is for adults only. Minors are not admitted. People who are close friends as children aren't always friends as adults. studying interactions between young birds and adults
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The police drama, which featured Dennis Franz, Jimmy Smits and Kim Delaney, sparked battles with ABC advertisers, affiliates and censors over its adult content, and a FCC fine for showing a woman's bare bottom. Kim Willis, USA TODAY, "Steven Bochco, who created 'NYPD Blue' and 'Hill Street Blues,' dead at 74," 1 Apr. 2018 For the third year in a row, biologists forecast low numbers of adult fish swimming in the Pacific Ocean outside of the Golden Gate Bridge. Ryan Sabalow, sacbee, "Fewer salmon at the Golden Gate may mean curtailed fishing in Northern California rivers | The Sacramento Bee," 2 Mar. 2018 At least two lanes will also be open for adult lap swimming during open/family swim hours. Geoff Bruce, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "5 things to do in the northwest suburbs this week," 9 Feb. 2018 Despite the growth of its lifestyle business, the company’s media division—the magazine, subscription websites and adult pay-per-view channel—delivered about half of its overall revenue of $90 million. Lukas I. Alpert, WSJ, "Playboy Renews Its Focus on Media," 11 Sep. 2018 Boston Medical Center’s Grayken Center for Addiction is teaming up with the national nonprofit Partnership for Drug-Free Kids to provide free resources and advice to parents whose adolescent or adult children are struggling with addiction. Felice J. Freyer, BostonGlobe.com, "Boston Medical Center establishes a lifeline for parents of addicted teens, adults," 6 June 2018 The team studied 60 pairs of Tutsi survivor parents and their adult children, all of whom completed two questionnaires about their psychological state. Susan Pinker, WSJ, "Inheriting the Trauma of Genocide," 21 Feb. 2019 Todd is known for his fierce loyalty to his family and remains very involved in his adult children's lives—often times through the internet. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "Here's What Todd Chrisley Really Thinks About Son Chase's New Girlfriend," 2 Feb. 2019 In Dogtooth, parents have kept their adult children isolated from the world since birth and taught them an alternate version of reality. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "The Favourite is a deliciously wicked tale of sex, women, and power plays," 21 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The building will be the first 24-hour permanent site for adult women and families on the Eastside, which has a rising homeless population that advocates say could grow if the issue isn’t more widely addressed. Paige Cornwell, The Seattle Times, "Kirkland to get new shelter for women and families, as Eastside homeless population rises," 13 Apr. 2019 The Periodic Table of ScA To some Redditors, skin care is the adult version of a play chemistry set. Brennan Kilbane, Allure, "A Comprehensive Guide to the SkincareAddiction Subreddit," 5 Apr. 2019 As for how much is too much, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans defines moderate alcohol consumption as up to one drink per day for adult women, and up to two per day for men. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "7 Signs You're Dealing With Anxiety," 3 Apr. 2019 Todd Chrisley's adult children, Savannah, 21, and Chase, 22, have a new spinoff series coming to television. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "Chase and Savannah Chrisley's New Show Is Coming to TV Soon—Here's What We Know," 16 Mar. 2019 Georgina is a New York University graduate and the author of a series of young adult novels. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "What Michael Bloomberg's Daughters Think of His Decision Not to Run for President," 9 Mar. 2019 The Fosters fans are excited to see their favorite show is back, this time with a fun twist as Callie (Maia Mitchell) and Mariana (Cierra Ramirez) start their adult lives and move out to Los Angeles together. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, ""Good Trouble"'s Cierra Ramirez and Tommy Martinez Get Real About Working With Noah Centineo, Bisexual Representation, and What’s Next for The “Fosters” Spin-Off," 10 Jan. 2019 Her doppelgänger Red, now an adult, arrives on the doorstep with her matching family, all wearing red jumpsuits and distorted expressions, eager to take over the Wilson narrative through torment and murder. Candice Frederick, Harper's BAZAAR, "Us Offers a Terrifying Vision of Judgement Day," 26 Mar. 2019 This week, Kensington and Buckingham palaces made an announcement that shocked royal fans to their cores: Two adult brothers, both married and one with three young children, would no longer work together with their wives in the same office. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "Why Is Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Household Split From Kate Middleton and Prince William Such a Big Deal?," 15 Mar. 2019

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

Adjective

1531, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1655, in the meaning defined above

Verb

1978, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for adult

Adjective

borrowed from French & Latin; French adulte, going back to Middle French, borrowed from Latin adultus, from past participle of adolēscere, adulēscere "to become mature, grow up," from ad- ad- + alēscere "to be nourished, grow up," probably inchoative derivative of *alēre "to grow," stative derivative of alere "to nurse, feed, nourish" — more at old entry 1

Noun

derivative of adult entry 1

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Statistics for adult

Last Updated

23 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for adult

The first known use of adult was in 1531

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More Definitions for adult

adult

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of adult

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: fully grown and developed
: mature and sensible : not childish
: of or intended for adults

adult

noun

English Language Learners Definition of adult (Entry 2 of 2)

: a fully grown person or animal

adult

adjective
\ ə-ˈdəlt How to pronounce adult (audio) , ˈa-ˌdəlt\

Kids Definition of adult

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: fully developed and mature adult birds

adult

noun

Kids Definition of adult (Entry 2 of 2)

: a fully grown person, animal, or plant

adult

adjective
\ ə-ˈdəlt How to pronounce adult (audio) , ˈad-ˌəlt How to pronounce adult (audio) \

Medical Definition of adult

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: fully developed and mature

adult

noun

Medical Definition of adult (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : one that has arrived at full development or maturity especially in size, strength, or intellectual capacity
2 : a human male or female after a specific age (as 18 or 21)

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adult

noun

Legal Definition of adult

: a person who has reached an age specified by law — compare child, infant, minor

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More from Merriam-Webster on adult

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for adult

Spanish Central: Translation of adult

Nglish: Translation of adult for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of adult for Arabic Speakers

Comments on adult

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