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[apt] /æpt/
inclined; disposed; given; prone:
too apt to slander others.
Am I apt to find him at home?
unusually intelligent; able to learn quickly and easily:
an apt pupil.
suited to the purpose or occasion; appropriate:
an apt metaphor; a few apt remarks on world peace.
Archaic. prepared; ready; willing.
Origin of apt
1350-1400; Middle English (< Anglo-French) < Latin aptus fastened, fitted, fitting, appropriate, equivalent to ap- fasten, attach + -tus past participle suffix
Related forms
aptly, adverb
aptness, noun
overapt, adjective
overaptly, adverb
overaptness, noun
Can be confused
apt, likely (see usage note at likely)
1. liable. 3. clever, bright; adaptable; handy, adroit, dexterous, skillful. 4. fitting, meet, germane, felicitous.
Synonym Study
4. Apt, pertinent, relevant all refer to something suitable or fitting. Apt means to the point and particularly appropriate: an apt comment. Pertinent means pertaining to the matter in hand: a pertinent remark. Relevant means directly related to and important to the subject: a relevant opinion.
Usage note
Some usage guides insist that apt followed by an infinitive can or should be used to mean only “inclined, disposed”: He is apt to ignore matters he regards as unimportant. In fact, apt is standard in all varieties of speech and writing as a synonym for likely in contexts that suggest probability without any implication of a natural disposition toward: Hostilities are apt to break out if the confrontation is not soon resolved. She is apt to arrive almost any time now. See also liable, likely. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for aptness
Historical Examples
  • As we ran towards the main hatch I recognized the aptness of the comparison.

    Romance Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer
  • I marvelled at its aptness, and also that it should have come to me so pat.

    The Arrow of Gold Joseph Conrad
  • This prophecy is wonderful for the aptness of each single word.

  • Even puns please, from the aptness and pleasantry of their conceits.

    A Lecture On Heads Geo. Alex. Stevens
  • There is also an aptness in this selection, which does credit to the 'Patriarch.'

  • The examples given in the story of the aptness of this remark are often very touching.

    Australian Writers

    Desmond Byrne
  • I don't know how, and I have no aptness for learning that kind of science.

    Woman in Prison Caroline H. Woods
  • And they that think it culpably defective in phrase, aptness, or elegancy of style.

    A Christian Directory Baxter Richard
  • For neatness and aptness of expression, it is equal to anything we have seen.

  • The most scrupulous visitor will fain admit the aptness of mountain nomenclature.

    Our Southern Highlanders Horace Kephart
British Dictionary definitions for aptness


suitable for the circumstance or purpose; appropriate
(postpositive; foll by an infinitive) having a tendency (to behave as specified)
having the ability to learn and understand easily; clever (esp in the phrase an apt pupil)
Derived Forms
aptly, adverb
aptness, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Latin aptus fitting, suitable, from apere to fasten
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
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Word Origin and History for aptness

1530s, from apt + -ness.



mid-14c., "inclined, disposed;" late 14c., "suited, fitted, adapted," from Old French ate (13c., Modern French apte), or directly from Latin aptus "fit, suited," adjectival use of past participle of *apere "to attach, join, tie to," from PIE root *ap- "to grasp, take, reach" (cf. Sanskrit apnoti "he reaches," Latin apisci "to reach after, attain," Hittite epmi "I seize"). Elliptical sense of "becoming, appropriate" is from 1560s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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