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

informal
1 : 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 : 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
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

Parents sometimes do this for children who are just starting out, or adult children will co-sign with their elderly parents, perhaps to help keep track of expenses. Holly D. Johnson, chicagotribune.com, "Here’s what happens to credit card debt after death," 9 July 2019 Higher prices have meant more adult children living with their parents. Louis Hansen, The Mercury News, "Exodus: For Bay Area millennials, moving up means moving out," 7 July 2019 Margie and her husband, Mike, have two adult children with autism. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, "‘Radically Inclusive’ project gives career training to young artists with autism," 30 June 2019 In that moment, us adult children who still feel like orphans shared that loss, respect and love. Elaine Ayala, ExpressNews.com, "Father David Garcia has left an indelible mark on his hometown," 27 June 2019 For instance, adult children of Holocaust survivors and babies born to mothers experiencing PTSD from the 9/11 attacks all had low cortisol levels. Bridget Alex, Discover Magazine, "What Science Says About Why You're Stressed and How to Cope," 21 June 2019 The Orlando event is expected to include first lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen Pence, as well as the president’s adult children, said people familiar with the planning. Catherine Lucey, WSJ, "Trump Set to Launch a Campaign That Never Really Ended," 15 June 2019 Olson is married with two adult children and a granddaughter. Frederick Melo, Twin Cities, "Two finalists for Metro Transit police chief to meet public Thursday," 12 June 2019 Many adult children with a parent suffering from failing memory or dementia will tell you there was one day, one event, one moment that signaled to them that their relationship with their mother or father would be forever changed. Deborah E. Kennedy, Good Housekeeping, "My Mom Has Dementia, But Her Relationship With My Son Is Unforgettable," 3 May 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Initially, Lifeline’s target customers were not high-risk adults but institutions like hospitals, nursing homes and health care agencies, which would buy monitoring stations and charge fees to individuals who wanted the service. Richard Sandomir, New York Times, "Andrew Dibner, Medical Alert Pioneer, Is Dead at 93," 11 July 2019 Never assume another parent, lifeguard or adult is watching your child, Leaming-Van Zandt stresses. Baylor College Of Medicine, Houston Chronicle, "Baylor College of Medicine provides water safety guidelines to prevent drowning," 11 July 2019 The adults gather in little gangs, clinking their drinks in celebration of this miniature feminist parody of the time men claimed the moon as their own. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "On Apollo 11's 50th anniversary, a new exhibition at the Met explores the moon's place in our cultural imagination.," 10 July 2019 The law signed Tuesday was a win for Newsom, who rejected as too expensive a state Senate plan to include adults 65 and older living in the state illegally. John Bacon, USA TODAY, "California becomes first state to provide health care coverage to some undocumented adults," 10 July 2019 Toshifumi Okuya, a system engineer, was amused to see adults having fun. Jae C. Hong, Cincinnati.com, "Even poop is cute at Japanese museum that encourages play," 10 July 2019 There are accounts, from kids and from adults, of being referred to in really racially derogatory ways. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, "How Detained Children Are Treated Around the World," 10 July 2019 The number of children arriving at the border unaccompanied by an adult spiked in May to 11,875, more than double the number of migrant children six months earlier. Molly Hennessy-fiske, latimes.com, "Trump administration opens a new shelter for migrant youth — just as their numbers drop," 10 July 2019 The fields will be used for youth and adult sports leagues and other community events. Ryan Ori, chicagotribune.com, "First section of $6 billion Lincoln Yards megadevelopment - sports fields - opens this month," 10 July 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

13 Jul 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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