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 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 George worked as a prosecutor in adult criminal cases in Philadelphia before returning to Washington to care for her father, who was dying of a rare heart condition. Washington Post, "Janeese Lewis George, the democratic socialist who beat one of the D.C. mayor’s allies, says she’ll be a pragmatic council member," 19 June 2020 But adult children don’t want to risk exposing an older, more vulnerable generation to the new coronavirus during a family visit. Tara Parker-pope, New York Times, "When Can I See My Grandkids?," 20 May 2020 As restrictions in the U.S. go into the third month with many elderly continuing to stay inside, some may be asking their adult children to help with financial chores. Veronica Dagher, WSJ, "How to Help Your Parents With Their Finances Amid Coronavirus," 23 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The 51-year-old Black man was raised in public housing and spent most of his adult life preaching in Baptist churches. Arkansas Online, "Decision day in Georgia with Senate majority at stake," 5 Jan. 2021 The 51-year-old Black man was raised in public housing and spent most of his adult life preaching in Baptist churches. Steve Peoples, Anchorage Daily News, "Control of US Senate hangs in balance on final day of voting in Georgia," 5 Jan. 2021 Trump spent most of his adult life building a public image as a master dealmaker. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Has an American President Ever Been Worse at Politics?," 28 Dec. 2020 Joe Biden has been preparing to be president for most of his adult life. NBC News, "Meet the Press - December 27, 2020," 27 Dec. 2020 The new edition builds on their 2014 book release, with a new chapter about David’s young adult life and work as an author, motivational speaker and actor. Anne Nickoloff, cleveland, "59 books by Cleveland authors released in 2020," 18 Dec. 2020 In High School for the first year of my adult life, while playing with my hair, which on my wedding day will not look as good as hers. Jenny Singer, Glamour, "This Revlon Blow Dryer Brush Is a Total Game Changer," 16 Dec. 2020 During a visit to Cape Town, South Africa, Mr. Timmer met a woman who had lived her adult life on the streets, and was often cold and uncomfortable. Anne Pinto-rodrigues, The Christian Science Monitor, "Coat as shelter: Designer Bas Timmer creates for people who have no home," 8 Dec. 2020 For the first time in his adult life, Patty Mills could not go home again. Jeff Mcdonald, ExpressNews.com, "For San Antonio Spurs’ Patty Mills, a season of Boomer or bust," 8 Dec. 2020

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

10 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Adult.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/adult. Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

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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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Comments on adult

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