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 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, "Drones show California’s great white sharks are closer — and more common — than you think," 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, "Children’s Mental Health Startup Little Otter Launches With $4.2 Million Investment," 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, "A Black-Owned Hemp Farm Flourishes in Hudson Valley," 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, "Neanderthal kids were just as obnoxious as human children," 13 Apr. 2021 At the time, tough-on-crime legislation led to extreme sentences for kids shunted into the adult criminal justice system, said James Dold, the founder of Human Rights for Kids, a nonprofit that advocates for legal protections for children. Michelle Theriault Boots, Anchorage Daily News, "Proposal would give Alaska juveniles sentenced to life a possible way out of prison," 24 Mar. 2021 In the Washington court system, a commissioner helps the superior court with adult criminal matters. oregonlive, "Judge’s offensive remarks in fatal shooting of Kevin Peterson Jr. draw condemnation, move to disqualify him from criminal cases," 15 Mar. 2021 In 2019, officials passed a law requiring free pads and tampons be made available in adult correctional settings. oregonlive, "Multiple Oregon bills would address access to menstrual products," 16 Mar. 2021 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Every American adult is now officially eligible for to get a Covid-19 vaccine. Judith Chevalier, STAT, "Dollar stores: gateways to equitable Covid-19 vaccine distribution," 9 May 2021 With every adult in the U.S. now eligible to receive a vaccine, the issue of what to do with those who will not get a shot will move into sharper focus, especially as offices and campuses reopen. Robert Hart, Forbes, "Full FDA Approval Of Pfizer’s Covid Shot Could Make Vaccine Mandates More Likely," 7 May 2021 With every American adult eligible for a vaccine, new concert and festival announcements have been ramping up, 14 months since the pandemic shut down the live music industry. Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Summerfest 2021 in Milwaukee announces lineup, with Jonas Brothers, Chance The Rapper, Miley Cyrus, 100 other headliners," 6 May 2021 As for adults' intentions for themselves, the most enthusiastic group grew only slightly from March to April, even with every adult now being eligible across the US, KFF said. Jason Hanna, CNN, "Less than a third of parents say they'd let their child get Covid-19 vaccine right away, survey finds," 6 May 2021 An adult might be interested in getting evaluated for ASD after learning about the disorder and realizing that the information matches their history and current situation, according to the Asperger/Autism Network. Colleen Murphy, Health.com, "Amy Schumer Opens Up About Her Husband’s Autism Spectrum Disorder and Encourages Others to Get Tested Too," 5 May 2021 President Joe Biden told states to make every adult eligible for a vaccine by April 19. Paul Davidson, USA TODAY, "Workers are slowly returning to offices: Dallas takes the lead, while San Francisco and NY trail behind," 3 May 2021 Canada's largest province, every adult can book an appointment starting May 24. Rob Gillies, Star Tribune, "Canada to start to get Pfizer vaccines from the US next week," 30 Apr. 2021 The White House now says the U.S. will have enough vaccines for every adult American by the end of May. Natalie Gontcharova, refinery29.com, "100 Days Later, What Has Biden Actually Done?," 30 Apr. 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

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

10 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Adult.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/adult. Accessed 17 May. 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

Comments on adult

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