adult

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

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 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

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

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 The study found that adult children of working mothers reported being just as happy as the adult children of mothers who didn’t work. Samantha Boardman, Marie Claire, "I'm a Working Mom—How Do I Not Feel Guilty?," 6 Nov. 2018 The actor admits that the experience can sometimes alter how adult McGee sees his own career. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "'NCIS' Is Revealing More Details About McGee's Troubled Past With His Father," 19 Feb. 2019 After the couple tied the knot officially, Bieber began to take a seriously adult approach to his hair, keeping his buzz cut trim and tidy. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "Tracking Justin Bieber’s Hair Evolution, From Teen Pop Star to Married Man," 7 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 The practice recalls the adult conversions that occurred in the 4th century church as Christianity was beginning to spread, says Morrill. Arricca Elin Sansone, Country Living, "What Is Holy Saturday, the Day Before Easter, and Why Do We Celebrate It?," 1 Mar. 2019 Don't forget the waterfalls and changing LED lights that all kids (and adults) love. Timothy Dahl, Popular Mechanics, "How to Buy a Hot Tub That Your Whole Family Will Enjoy," 30 Jan. 2019 By contrast, Altria, the U.S. cigarette market leader, is expert at reaching adult smokers. Jennifer Maloney, WSJ, "Juul Looks to Marlboro Maker for More Sway in Washington," 20 Dec. 2018 Two days before the start of Hanukkah 2018, Hallmark delivered some exciting news to Jewish kids (and adults) everywhere: A Hallmark Hanukkah movie is on its way. Jessica Radloff, Glamour, "Here's Why Hallmark's Upcoming Hanukkah Movies Are Such a Big Deal," 1 Dec. 2018 Rather than fill the void with social media’s continuous self-reference, children and adults alike sat still without the repeat validation of the smartphone swipe. Laura Dannen Redman, Condé Nast Traveler, "18 Summers: The Ultimate Guide to Not Wasting a Single Vacation With Your Kids," 20 July 2018 The top floor is for adults and overlooks the enclosed swimming pool structure. Megan Barber, Curbed, "Three-tiered glass masterpiece asks $16.8M," 26 Dec. 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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Statistics for adult

Last Updated

6 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

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