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

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

During the drive, the woman asked Chavez to call her adult daughter about the arrest. Elise Schmelzer, The Denver Post, "Denver police corporal suspended for making suggestive comments toward arrestee then asking arrestee’s daughter on date," 4 Sep. 2019 Jones, whose adult daughter was shot and killed in 2015, is like many parents desperately seeking a way to curb the gun violence that has killed at least a dozen children in the high-crime city already this year. Josiah Bates, Time, "'This Crisis Has Gone Undiscussed and Unaddressed For Years.' St. Louis Grapples With Wave of Gun Violence That Killed 13 Children This Summer," 23 Aug. 2019 Now my adult daughter seemed to be a stranger to Beatrice. Phillip Morris, cleveland.com, "Alzheimer’s disease is not more powerful than love: Phillip Morris," 18 Aug. 2019 The singer, songwriter and banjo virtuoso has spent much of her adult life tracing the history of African American folk and country music. Randy Lewis, chicagotribune.com, "In 2019, country music has a raging identity crisis. For Ken Burns, that’s a 100-year-old story," 9 Sep. 2019 Kirsten Gillibrand is one of so many who was baptized Catholic but doesn’t practice in her adult life. Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review, "Cruising with Saints Monica and Augustine," 2 Sep. 2019 Like Orson Welles, Losey was a Wisconsin boy who spent much of his adult life in exile. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "The Hour of Reckoning Descends in “Mr. Klein”," 30 Aug. 2019 Recently, though, the older child had dropped her nap altogether, and my friend found herself—a woman who hadn’t even owned a TV most of her adult life—turning on Peppa Pig for her daughter every afternoon for an hour and a half. Laura Turner, Glamour, "The Big Problem With the New Screen Time Guidelines for Kids," 26 Apr. 2019 One of the most powerful op-eds featured today is from Dalia Gómez de Hernández, a mother whose two adult children had difficult experiences with Providence schools. Dan Mcgowan, BostonGlobe.com, "A national teachers’ union is polling the state takeover of Providence schools," 3 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

At some point within the last five years, the child was enrolled at the Excel Center — a free tuition high school for adults, according to WLFI News 18. Robyn Merrett, PEOPLE.com, "Parenting Author & Husband Accused of Changing Daughter's Age from 8 to 22, Moving Countries Without Her," 17 Sep. 2019 Still, Meadows said, the rule is too punitive for young adults. Tim Prudente, baltimoresun.com, "Prison terms for killing of Baltimore County Police Officer Amy Caprio draw attention to felony murder rule," 17 Sep. 2019 The resort-style community will be for adults 55 years old and older. Peter Marteka, courant.com, "New assisted living community coming to Evergreen Walk in South Windsor," 16 Sep. 2019 Ice skates are for rent for about $5 for kids and $10 for adults. Tiffini Theisen, orlandosentinel.com, "’World’s Largest Christmas Light Maze’ coming to Florida for first time," 16 Sep. 2019 While the findings are similar, those studies came to a different conclusion and argued that a daily aspirin regimen provided no significant health benefit for older adults and may cause harm. Jen Christensen, CNN, "Medical guidelines say daily aspirin is too risky for most healthy people. A new study says some can benefit," 16 Sep. 2019 Wings and beer, says Jordan Busch, is like peanut butter and jelly for adults. Andre Meunier, oregonlive, "Fire on the Mountain not just winging it in Beervana: Portland Breweries Series," 12 Sep. 2019 The obesity rate for adults in Minnesota jumped from 28.4 percent in 2017 to 30.1 percent last year, according to the state Department of Health. Christopher Magan, Twin Cities, "Minnesota’s adult obesity rate rises, is now close to national average," 12 Sep. 2019 For adults, beer and margaritas will be available to purchase. Alison Stanton, azcentral, "The best fall festivals around Phoenix in 2019: Oktoberfest, Day of the Dead, art and more," 12 Sep. 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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Statistics for adult

Last Updated

5 Oct 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

Comments on adult

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