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 Some estimates suggest over 80% of the adult female population are members in urban areas, with amounts loaned ranging from a few dollars to thousands. Avivah Wittenberg-cox, Forbes, 30 Sep. 2021 In some instances having this alternative will allow the adult protective investigator to do more research to see whether criminal charges need to be brought. Shari Rudavsky, The Indianapolis Star, 3 Sep. 2021 Newington became the first town in the state to authorize a local retail seller, approving the Fine Fettle medical dispensary’s request to become a hybrid operation selling to both medical and adult recreational users. Don Stacom, courant.com, 30 Aug. 2021 Fontaine shares neo-feminism with Catherine Breillat, who made the startlingly adult version of Bluebeard (2009). Armond White, National Review, 27 Aug. 2021 Considering that the adult human body is comprised of up to 60% water, hydration is essential for good health. Dana Santas, CNN, 24 Aug. 2021 Instead, iPSCs are taken from adult human cells, usually from a skin or blood sample, and converted into an embryonic-like state. Elizabeth Gamillo, Smithsonian Magazine, 19 Aug. 2021 Officials believe that a disruption between Williams and the adult female victim preceded the shooting. Lawrence Andrea, The Indianapolis Star, 12 Aug. 2021 And now that Connecticut will allow recreational sales starting next year, the company wants its Newington shop to become a hybrid operation — selling to patients with medical certificates as well as adult recreational users. Don Stacom, courant.com, 12 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This animal appears to be an adult, judging by its color, Wade said. Lynda V. Mapes, Anchorage Daily News, 7 Oct. 2021 But prosecutors had asked the court to find that Buk was an adult by February 2019, court records show. Becky Jacobs, The Salt Lake Tribune, 5 Oct. 2021 Though the victim is an adult, her mental abilities are those of a child. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, 5 Oct. 2021 Being an adult is hard, and therapy can help—don’t give up. Brittany Risher, SELF, 5 Oct. 2021 Antoine Lamont Wells, 19, of the 8500 block of Skokie Boulevard, was charged with possession and adult use of cannabis in motor vehicle in the 5300 block of Dempster Street on Sept. 20. Brian L. Cox, chicagotribune.com, 5 Oct. 2021 Carmen is an adult who still lives with her parents in her dying and isolated West Coast hometown. Usa Today Staff, USA TODAY, 1 Oct. 2021 As adult use markets mature, edible consumption typically grows faster than the overall market. Jackie Bryant, Forbes, 30 Sep. 2021 Thirty-six states, the District of Columbia, and four U.S. territories have either decriminalized the possession and sale of cannabis or have medically or recreationally legalized cannabis for adult use. David Cannady, sun-sentinel.com, 23 Sep. 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

13 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Adult.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/adult. Accessed 18 Oct. 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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