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 The novelty was not going to be kids saying adult things. Carrie Battan, The New Yorker, "John Mulaney Is Not So Square," 7 Jan. 2020 The analysis of Jane and Petey’s bones suggest that T-rex took a long time to approach its adult size. Kate Baggaley, Popular Science, "T. rex teens looked wildly different than the adults we’re familiar with," 3 Jan. 2020 Among the defendants are website owners Michael James Pratt, 36, and Matthew Isaac Wolfe, 37, and adult film actor Ruben Andre Garcia, 31. Time, "Women Win $12.7 Million in Lawsuit Against California-Based Pornography Website," 3 Jan. 2020 The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday announced a ban on flavored e-cigarettes in an ostensible effort to thread the needle between preventing youth nicotine addiction and promoting adult tobacco cessation. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Thank You for Not Vaping," 2 Jan. 2020 Plus, he’d be surrounded by adults—and adult conversation—all day, every day. Judy Koutsky, Condé Nast Traveler, "Why My Son Does Better on Adult Trips—And Yours Might, Too," 27 Dec. 2019 By offering more than just adult beverages, Debbie hopes to provide a little something for everyone in her hometown. Savannah Mehrtens, Houston Chronicle, "Green Oaks Tavern forges new path at historic building," 27 Dec. 2019 Kids eat free with adult meal purchased after 4 pm on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Vic Ryckaert, Indianapolis Star, "35 restaurants where kids eat free around Indianapolis for 2020 and beyond," 26 Dec. 2019 Seeing the enormous audience James attracted, publishers and booksellers widened the scope of their offerings to include adult categories that had long been consigned to the shadows. 7. Ron Charles, Washington Post, "11 trends that changed the way we read this decade," 24 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The activists argue the conversation needs to be redirected away from adults and back towards children. Sean Higgins, Washington Examiner, "Former top labor official boosts parents group as counterweight to teachers unions," 10 Jan. 2020 Children 2 to 12 pay half fare when traveling with an adult. Los Angeles Times, "Denver’s ski train is back. Go from the city to the slopes car-free," 9 Jan. 2020 As the adults drank cocktails on the lawn, kids took runs down the hill. Brent Crane, The New Yorker, "Want Snow on Your Palm Trees? Easy.," 6 Jan. 2020 Inside a 309-million-year-old tree stump in Nova Scotia, researchers found an adult protectively cradling a juvenile with its tail. National Geographic, "How can we stop these bubbles from surfacing?," 1 Jan. 2020 Terms of Berger’s bond prohibit him from coaching youth sports or being in contact with minors unless another adult is present. Forum News Service, Twin Cities, "Former Vadnais Heights youth coach arrested, charged in online child sex sting," 30 Dec. 2019 Marmee is an adult and an important person in her community, so her clothes needed to be quite Victorian to contrast with the girls. Emma Specter, Vogue, "Dressing Little Women: Costume Designer Jacqueline Durran on Color, Character, and Breaking the Rules," 25 Dec. 2019 Ask an adult to send your question to CuriousKidsUS@theconversation.com. Fashina Aladé, The Conversation, "How old should kids be to get phones?," 12 Dec. 2019 The company’s newer Aurora sensor instead uses an algorithm, which Hartjen says was trained to tell the difference between kids and adults by looking at pictures of RetailNext customers who consented to their images being used. Louise Matsakis, Wired, "Toys “R” Us Is Back—Now With More Surveillance!," 11 Dec. 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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Time Traveler for adult

Time Traveler

The first known use of adult was in 1531

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Statistics for adult

Last Updated

12 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Adult.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/adult. Accessed 22 January 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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