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 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, 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 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 Detectives also interviewed Hyler’s two adult adoptive children, who have since moved from the home and had similar stories of abuse. Fox News, "Florida mother beat adopted son with dog chain, chipped his teeth with pliers, sheriff says," 13 May 2020 Questions of whether and how to see my adult children and my own elderly mother present medical and ethical quandaries. Claudia Finkelstein, The Conversation, "Is it safe to visit your mother on Mother’s Day? A doctor offers a decision checklist," 7 May 2020 Sometimes adult children need to declare independence from parents who have either coddled or abused them. Stephen Humphries, The Christian Science Monitor, "Another effect of the coronavirus crisis: Forgiveness," 5 May 2020 Photo: Courtesy of Hulu Every good teen show needs a love triangle, and despite its top stars being adult women Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon, Little Fires Everywhere is solidly a teen drama in my book. Kaitlin Reilly, refinery29.com, "A Love Triangle Just Sparked On Little Fires Everywhere," 24 Mar. 2020 This is in line with the fact that adult men tend to have fewer close friends than adult women in general, and with research showing that male friendlessness trebles in the period between early adulthood and late middle age. Kawther Alfasi, The Atlantic, "The Loneliness of Early Parenthood," 5 Feb. 2020 In 2018, a crop of movies relying largely on adult women to boost their fortunes prospered, including the PG-13 Crazy Rich Asians (also starring Wu), Ocean's 8, Mamma Mia! Pamela Mcclintock, Billboard, "Box Office: 'Hustlers' Ends Downturn Among 2019 Adult Female-Driven Films," 15 Sep. 2019 In 2018, a crop of movies relying largely on adult women to boost their fortunes prospered, including the PG-13-rated Crazy Rich Asians (also starring Wu), Ocean's 8 and Mamma Mia! Pamela Mcclintock, The Hollywood Reporter, "Box Office: 'Hustlers' Ends Downturn Among 2019 Adult Female-Driven Films," 15 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun A few months later Cyrus Vance, Manhattan’s district attorney, sought similar records for a grand-jury investigation into Mr Trump’s alleged hush-money payoffs to an adult film star and a Playboy model before the election in 2016. The Economist, "Donald Trump’s finances The Supreme Court will not agree on the president's taxes," 16 May 2020 Nursing homes struggle with infection control even under normal circumstances, much less the challenge that COVID-19 poses to older adults living in tight quarters. The Enquirer, Cincinnati.com, "Which long-term care facilities around Cincinnati have COVID-19 cases? Here are 54 of them," 14 May 2020 That figure jumps to 52% among adults with a low income. Matthew Glowicki, The Courier-Journal, "Lost your job or is money tight because of the COVID-19 pandemic? Here are financial tips," 14 May 2020 At least four adults and one child have tested positive for COVID-19 after being exposed to the novel virus in childcare facilities, reported The Denver Post, citing data from the state’s public health department. Fox News, "Colorado sees first coronavirus outbreaks connected to childcare centers," 14 May 2020 For 13 years starting in 1982, scientists followed every adult in Denmark who had a cellphone plan—420,000 people. Kaitlyn Tiffany, The Atlantic, "Something in the Air," 14 May 2020 In the study, 111 adults were randomized into two groups. Cynthia Sass, Mph, Health.com, "Losing Belly Fat: A Nutritionist's Top 5 Foods," 13 May 2020 Ipsos and The Washington Post conducted the poll April 27 to May 4 among 8,086 adults nationwide through Ipsos's KnowledgePanel. TheWeek, "Governors who rushed to reopen fare much worse than their more cautious peers in new state-by-state poll," 12 May 2020 Most adults speak of the RX-7's glove-like cockpit. Larry Griffin, Car and Driver, "Comparison Test: 1993 Toyota Supra Turbo Takes On the Best Sports Cars of the Early 1990s," 12 May 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

31 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Adult.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/adult. Accessed 31 May. 2020.

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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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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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