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

Noun

adultlike \ ə-​ˈdəlt-​ˌlīk How to pronounce adult (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 At the time, tough-on-crime legislation led to extreme sentences for kids shunted into the adult criminal justice system, said James Dold, the founder of Human Rights for Kids, a nonprofit that advocates for legal protections for children. Michelle Theriault Boots, Anchorage Daily News, "Proposal would give Alaska juveniles sentenced to life a possible way out of prison," 24 Mar. 2021 In the Washington court system, a commissioner helps the superior court with adult criminal matters. oregonlive, "Judge’s offensive remarks in fatal shooting of Kevin Peterson Jr. draw condemnation, move to disqualify him from criminal cases," 15 Mar. 2021 In 2019, officials passed a law requiring free pads and tampons be made available in adult correctional settings. oregonlive, "Multiple Oregon bills would address access to menstrual products," 16 Mar. 2021 Winn estimated the state has lost 300 pediatric and adult psychiatric beds in the past year. Roger Rapoport, STAT, "‘Every day is an emergency’: The pandemic is worsening psychiatric bed shortages nationwide," 23 Dec. 2020 Pew Research tabulations of the 2018American Community SurveyNote: Eligible voters are adult U.S. citizens. José De Córdoba, WSJ, "Trump Campaign Battles Democrats for Latin Votes in Florida," 17 Oct. 2020 Work on the field, which will be near the adult recreational-use part of the 18-acre park, is expected to begin in November. Karen Pearlman, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Field of (soccer) dreams coming to El Cajon," 14 Sep. 2020 And seeing the cubs sliding down snowbanks, or rambunctious sub-adult hooligans wrestling, is unmatched entertainment. Amy Grisak, Popular Mechanics, "Grizzly Bears Are Returning to a Habitat Lost a Century Ago," 3 July 2020 The order for long-term care facilities includes nursing homes, homes for the aged, adult foster care facilities, hospital facilities, substance abuse disorder residential facilities, independent living facilities and assisted living facilities. Christina Hall, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan partially lifts order barring nursing home visits during pandemic," 30 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun His teacher will be working online from home, while an adult monitor watches the kids in class. Fox News, "California’s schools lag in reopening push," 14 Apr. 2021 Now advocates warn that once again desperate parents and other adult family members are choosing to send children across the border alone, as US officials expel more migrant families to Mexico under pandemic travel restrictions. Rosa Flores, CNN, "'I felt like I was dying,' a mom says after watching her children cross the border alone," 14 Apr. 2021 Cleveland Institute of Art’s Cinematheque is virtually screening the adult drama beginning on April 16. John Benson, cleveland, "‘Hope’ and ‘Bill Traylor: Chasing Ghosts’ top this week’s streaming movies at Cleveland Cinemas and Cinematheque," 14 Apr. 2021 The adult males also die off shortly after emerging. Rebecca Katzman, Time, "Trillions of 'Brood X' Cicadas Are About to Emerge Across the U.S. to Sing, Mate and Die. Here's What to Expect," 14 Apr. 2021 In the last 50 days New Jersey, New York, and Virginia all signed bills into law legalizing marijuana sales to the general adult public. BostonGlobe.com, "Under the radar, states around the country are quickly making marijuana legal," 14 Apr. 2021 After getting a dispatcher to help, Norman was able to call the driver's daughter, who was is an adult. Cameron Knight, The Enquirer, "Officer discovers wrong-way driver has dementia, reunites her with daughter," 7 Apr. 2021 It’s about that exact moment from being a kid to basically having to be an adult. Charlie Harding And Nate Sloan, Vulture, "How a Broadway-Inspired Banger Took Over the Pop Charts," 30 Mar. 2021 Virgin Voyages, the new cruise line by Richard Branson, was always adult-only; its vaccination rule reaffirms that policy. Washington Post, "Vaccines and summer travel: What families need to know," 25 Mar. 2021

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

4 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Adult.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/adult. Accessed 20 Apr. 2021.

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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

Nglish: Translation of adult for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of adult for Arabic Speakers

Comments on adult

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