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

1 informal : 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 informal : 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, informal
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

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Adjective

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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 One lucky person will win everything needed for a tailgate party, including a Coleman portable grill, Ozark folding wagon, Coleman 50-quart cooler, grill tool set, adult beverages and other items. cleveland, "Westlake High School technology students win state awards: West Shore Chatter," 4 Mar. 2020 The answer may lie in the difference between children's and adult's immune systems, said Dr. Vanessa Raabe, an assistant professor in pediatric and adult infectious diseases at NYU Langone. NBC News, "'We simply do not understand why': Coronavirus is sparing children, puzzling experts," 3 Mar. 2020 The new arrivals weigh about 550 pounds each, about half their adult weight. Steve Rubenstein, SFChronicle.com, "Eating, drinking, making friends — 5 lucky baby bison join SF’s Golden Gate Park herd," 3 Mar. 2020 But today there’s uncertainty around the size of the bird’s population; IUCN offers a conservative estimate of between 50 and 250 adult blue-throated macaws. National Geographic, "Blue-throated macaw," 26 Feb. 2020 Moving the Love, Simon series to Hulu perpetuates the notion that gay stories are somehow more adult—even if that was not the company’s intent. Adam Epstein, Quartz, "Disney wants its streaming service to be “family-friendly,” but doesn’t know what that means," 25 Feb. 2020 Transferring juveniles to adult The Senate also has passed one bill that ends the automatic transfer to adult court of juveniles accused of some crimes. Joseph Gerth, The Courier-Journal, "​​​​​​​Gerth: Midway through the 2020 legislature, are you getting your money's worth?," 19 Feb. 2020 Pollan cites at least one estimate that more than 150 million adult Americans drink coffee daily, and more than 2 billion cups of coffee are consumed worldwide each day. Rachel King, Fortune, "Michael Pollan and ‘How Caffeine Created the Modern World’," 10 Feb. 2020 University Chief of Police Bryan Vaughn told reporters Monday afternoon that the deceased victims were two adult women, and the third surviving victim is a young child, approximately 2 years old, who is in stable condition. Jasmine Aguilera, Time, "2 Dead, 1 Injured in Shooting at Texas A&M-Commerce," 3 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Their frequent exposure to these other coronaviruses likely offers them some level of immunity that adults may not have. Fox News, "Coronavirus infects Ohio 2-year-old, the youngest in the state to contract the illness to date," 20 Mar. 2020 Maybe $1,200 per adult and $500 per child, as proposed in a GOP Senate bill, according to news reports Friday. Michael Taylor, ExpressNews.com, "Taylor: Even after coronavirus goes away, universal basic income is here to stay," 20 Mar. 2020 Several exceptions are included in the order, such as for juveniles who are accompanied by a parent or an adult who is 21 years or older and authorized by a parent to accompany the juvenile. Billy Kobin, The Courier-Journal, "Kentucky county enacts juvenile curfew amid coronavirus pandemic," 20 Mar. 2020 The institute’s Friendship Line is the only nationwide toll-fee hotline (800-971-0016) dedicated to serving older adults struggling with social isolation or those with disabilities. Catherine Bigelow, SFChronicle.com, "San Francisco philanthropy takes a hit as coronavirus shutdown cancels charitable galas," 20 Mar. 2020 This came after local media reported that a Wuhan Institute of Virology study found that the drug can kill an adult just dosed at twice the daily amount recommended for treatment, which is one gram. Fortune, "Malaria drug touted as coronavirus treatment by Trump and Elon Musk can be deadly, China finds," 20 Mar. 2020 Workers themselves are not thrilled to be entering households with sniffling children or coughing adults. Beth Landman, The Hollywood Reporter, "Coronavirus and the Ultra Wealthy: Yacht Staffing, Live-In Doctor Requests and the New Rules of Support Staff," 20 Mar. 2020 Several adult courts and jails in Ohio, including in Cuyahoga County, are working to release inmates from jails in order to keep the coronavirus out of lockups, where spread of COVID-19 could happen more quickly. Adam Ferrise, cleveland, "Advocates want Ohio officials to release some juvenile inmates amid coronavirus pandemic," 19 Mar. 2020 The longer swims might also make the adult penguins more vulnerable to deadly stress and predation. Eli Kintisch, Science | AAAS, "Why did nearly a million king penguins vanish without a trace?," 19 Mar. 2020

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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Time Traveler for adult

Time Traveler

The first known use of adult was in 1531

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Statistics for adult

Last Updated

8 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Adult.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/adult. Accessed 1 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for adult

adult

adjective
How to pronounce adult (audio) How to pronounce adult (audio)

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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