• synonyms


[uh-duhlt, ad-uhlt]
See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
  1. having attained full size and strength; grown up; mature: an adult person, animal, or plant.
  2. of, relating to, or befitting adults.
  3. intended for adults; not suitable for children: adult entertainment.
  1. a person who is fully grown or developed or of age.
  2. a full-grown animal or plant.
  3. a person who has attained the age of maturity as specified by law.

Origin of adult

1525–35; 1925–30 for def 3; < Latin adultus grown (past participle of adolēre to make grow), equivalent to ad- ad- + ul- (identical with base al- in aliment, ol- in prolific) + -tus past participle suffix
Related formsa·dult·hood, nouna·dult·like, adjectivea·dult·ly, adverba·dult·ness, nounnon·a·dult, adjective, nounqua·si-a·dult, adjectivesub·a·dult, adjective, nounsub·a·dult·ness, nounun·a·dult, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for adultlike

Historical Examples

  • By the end of the 4th week the young, except for size, are adultlike and capable of independent existence.

    North American Jumping Mice (Genus Zapus)

    Philip H. Krutzsch

British Dictionary definitions for adultlike


  1. having reached maturity; fully developed
  2. of or intended for mature peopleadult education
  3. regarded as suitable only for adults, because of being pornographicadult films and magazines
  1. a person who has attained maturity; a grownup
  2. a mature fully grown animal or plant
  3. law a person who has attained the age of legal majority (18 years for most purposes)Compare infant
Derived Formsadulthood, noun

Word Origin

C16: from Latin adultus, from adolēscere to grow up, from alēscere to grow, from alēre to feed, nourish
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for adultlike



"adult person," 1650s, from adult (adj.).



1530s (but not common until mid-17c.), from Latin adultus "grown up, mature, adult, ripe," past participle of adolescere "grow up, mature" (see adolescent). As a euphemism for "pornographic," it dates to 1958 and does no honor to the word.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

adultlike in Medicine


(ə-dŭlt, ădŭlt)
  1. One who has attained maturity or legal age.
  2. A fully grown, mature organism.
  1. Fully developed and mature.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.