adult

adjective
\ə-ˈdəlt, ˈa-ˌdəlt \

Definition of adult 

(Entry 1 of 2)

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 2)

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

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Other Words from adult

Adjective

adulthood \ə-ˈdəlt-ˌhu̇d \ noun
adultly \ə-ˈdəlt-lē, ˈa-ˌdəlt- \ adverb
adultness \ə-ˈdəlt-nəs, ˈa-ˌdəlt- \ noun

Noun

adultlike \ə-ˈdəlt-ˌlīk \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for adult

Synonyms: Adjective

full-blown, full-fledged, mature, matured, ripe, ripened

Synonyms: Noun

grown-up

Antonyms: Adjective

adolescent, green, immature, juvenile, unripe, unripened, young, youngish, youthful

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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

Dolphins ram their heads into the sides of pools, and sea lion pups try to nurse from each other instead of adult females. David Scharfenberg, BostonGlobe.com, "Did humans drive this polar bear insane?," 13 July 2018 If not, contact the psychological association in your state about a referral to a therapist who specializes in patients with adult attention deficit disorder. Houston Chronicle, "Hard-working college student strives to be more organized," 13 July 2018 The county’s crisis shelter serves adult female victims of trafficking. Stephen Hudak, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Orange County's crisis shelter for human-trafficking victims is full — and that may be a good thing," 12 July 2018 By July 26, the federal government must reunite the nearly 3,000 children separated from their adult relatives and placed Department of Health and Human Services custody under the Trump administration's zero-tolerance border-enforcement policy. Pamela Ren Larson, azcentral, "What we know about efforts to reunite migrant children with their parents," 11 July 2018 Around 36 percent of Texas’s adult population is Latino, but Latinos represented only 17 percent of the electorate in the last two midterm elections. Andrew Rice, Daily Intelligencer, "Can a Democrat Ever Win in Texas?," 10 July 2018 The effort to rescue 12 boys and their adult soccer coach trapped in a cave in northern Thailand took a tragic turn Friday as a former Thai Navy SEAL lost his life during a mission to deliver oxygen deep inside the tunnels. Time, "A Former Thai Navy SEAL Has Died During a Rescue Mission for Soccer Team Trapped in a Cave," 6 July 2018 More than 100,000 adult African-American Detroiters, out of the city's 672,000 residents, have felony records, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan. Caroline Blackmon, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit residents can get nonviolent records expunged on Saturday," 28 June 2018 And weight stigma isn’t just experienced by a vocal minority—in one study with a sample of 2,449 adult women characterized as overweight or obese, 69 percent of them reported experiencing weight stigma from a doctor. Your Fat Friend, SELF, "Weight Stigma Kept Me Out Of Doctors’ Offices for Almost a Decade," 26 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Nonetheless, an Ameriprise study found that 23% of adults with pre-tax retirement plans have withdrawn funds or borrowed money from their accounts. Abby Haglage, refinery29.com, "4 Women Explain Why They Liquidated Their 401(k)s — & If It Was Worth It," 13 July 2018 These make up seven of the top 10 causes of death in the U.S. An estimated — 60 percent of adults — have one or more chronic conditions. Karen S. Lynch, STAT, "Everyone deserves a holistic, patient-centric health care system," 12 July 2018 The survey of 1,367 adults in the state was conducted between March and May and is part of an ongoing partnership between the two foundations examining health care issues in the state. Jenny Deam, Houston Chronicle, "Texans missing or delaying needed treatment because health costs too high," 12 July 2018 The Pew Research Center’s phone survey of 2,002 adults was conducted June 5-12, and the margin of error is 2.6 percentage points. Dan Wine, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Best president of your lifetime? Obama comes out on top in survey," 12 July 2018 Perhaps unsurprisingly, the clear winner is Barack Obama, who was chosen by 31 percent of adults. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Poll: Barack Obama Was the Greatest President of Our Lifetime," 11 July 2018 According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 15 percent of American adults age 18 and over report some hearing troubles. Ace Ratcliff, SELF, "I Rely On Closed Captions to Enjoy a Show And I Don't Appreciate Netflix's Way of Censoring Them," 10 July 2018 Under the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Acts of 2008, Customs and Border Protection agents may ask additional questions of adults traveling with minors if their relationship is not immediately determined. Alexandra Deabler, Fox News, "U.S. Customs officer allegedly detained mother, daughter for having different last names," 10 July 2018 So Shalev's team tried the drug out in a small group of adults newly diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. NBC News, "Cheap blood pressure drug might slow diabetes," 9 July 2018

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

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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Phrases Related to adult

adult life

consenting adult

Statistics for adult

Last Updated

5 Oct 2018

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, 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, ˈad-ˌəlt \

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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