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 And while 18 states, two territories, and the District of Columbia have made adult recreational use of small amounts of marijuana legal, people’s changing opinions about the drug have yet to translate into majority support in Congress. BostonGlobe.com, 14 July 2021 Some young consumers have spent their formative years in states where adult recreational cannabis is legal and are more comfortable with it. NBC News, 14 July 2021 The brush has a 14-day battery life and charges wirelessly, like most adult electric brushes. Dave Johnson, Forbes, 18 June 2021 Although the group found both male and female sharks, the estimate of the adult female population showed just around 60 in the region. Julia Musto, Fox News, 26 May 2021 That size of a shark is sub-adult, and usually just starting to upgrade their diet from stingrays and fish to harbor seals and other marine mammals. Joe Mozingo, oregonlive, 16 May 2021 Minish later described the bear to biologists as appearing to be a sub-adult brown bear, Hatcher said. Tess Williams, Anchorage Daily News, 19 May 2021 That size of a shark is sub-adult, and usually just starting to upgrade their diet from stingrays and fish to harbor seals and other marine mammals. Joe Mozingo, oregonlive, 16 May 2021 His office does not seek the death penalty and attempts to divert juvenile defendants away from the adult criminal justice system. NBC News, 22 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Dear Unsure: Whether this is how an adult should process her feelings is almost immaterial; this is how your stepdaughter does process her feelings. Amy Dickinson, oregonlive, 22 July 2021 Dear Unsure: Whether this is how an adult should process her feelings is almost immaterial; this is how your stepdaughter does process her feelings. Amy Dickinson, chicagotribune.com, 22 July 2021 Dear Unsure: Whether this is how an adult should process her feelings is almost immaterial; this is how your stepdaughter does process her feelings. Amy Dickinson, Detroit Free Press, 22 July 2021 The council was established in legislation Lamont signed last month that legalizes and regulates the adult use of cannabis in Connecticut. Stephen Singer, courant.com, 22 July 2021 Amy says: Whether this is how an adult should process her feelings is almost immaterial; this is how your stepdaughter does process her feelings. Amy Dickinson, Star Tribune, 21 July 2021 And while that's a big boost from the days of medical-only sales, the adult-use market hasn't yet surpassed the medical market. Ryan Randazzo, The Arizona Republic, 21 July 2021 Recreational adult use of marijuana is now the law of the land in one of the most crowded corners of the country. New York Times, 19 July 2021 As of June, 2021, marijuana is legal for medical use in 36 states and legal for adult recreational use in 18 states, including New Jersey, Connecticut, California and Illinois. Marisa Cohen, Good Housekeeping, 12 July 2021

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

1909, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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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Learn More About adult

Dictionary Entries Near adult

Adullamite

adult

adult alternative

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Statistics for adult

Last Updated

2 Aug 2021

Cite this Entry

“Adult.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/adult. Accessed 4 Aug. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on adult

Nglish: Translation of adult for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of adult for Arabic Speakers

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