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 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 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 Pfizer's clinical trials have shown their vaccine safe and 100% effective in children ages 12-15, aligning with the 95% efficacy among adult clinical trial participants. Sasha Pezenik, ABC News, 12 May 2021 That compares to just over 50% of the adult white population of Utah that has gotten their shots. Sean P. Means, The Salt Lake Tribune, 14 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. Los Angeles Times, 4 May 2021 Most adult psychiatric disorders start before age 14, according to Helen Egger, which makes early intervention important and long waiting lists to see specialists particularly detrimental. Deb Gordon, Forbes, 4 May 2021 With the recent passing of New York State legislation that makes cannabis legal for adult recreational growth, sale, and use, the demand for agricultural expertise will be at an all time high. Deidre Dyer, Vogue, 20 Apr. 2021 The wide range of sizes of the footprints suggests the existence of a social group integrated by individuals of different age classes but dominated, however, by non-adult individuals. Mike Wehner, BGR, 13 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Just take a look at comments under Siwa's announcement about her latest JoJo's Closet Target line — every other one is a demand for adult sizes. Rachel Yang, EW.com, 1 June 2021 Modifying your favorite childhood hairstyle into a chic, adult trend is as simple as that. Daria Smith, Southern Living, 1 June 2021 Fay continued her education with a master’s in English from University of Detroit and a Ph.D. in adult and higher education from the University of Chicago. Miriam Marini, Detroit Free Press, 1 June 2021 Animal: Gaia, a mature adult American pit bull terrier; No. 728777. Linda Mcintosh, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1 June 2021 Recent polling suggests more than two-thirds of Americans want adult-use cannabis legalized. Chris Roberts, Forbes, 1 June 2021 Investigators with the Metro Transit Police said in a statement on December 18 that video footage of the incident shows an adult male approach Valdivia as the Metrorail car approached Medical Center Station in Bethesda. Christina Carrega, CNN, 1 June 2021 The new version of iCarly shows a now-adult Carly going on dates, reconnecting with her brother and Freddie, and starting a new version of her online talk show. Andy Greene, Rolling Stone, 1 June 2021 The 63-year-old woman rejected the vaccine that was offered to every adult resident of Serrana as part of a trial. Mauricio Savarese, chicagotribune.com, 1 June 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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Statistics for adult

Last Updated

3 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Adult.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/adult. Accessed 14 Jun. 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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for adult

Nglish: Translation of adult for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of adult for Arabic Speakers

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