[ uh-dopt ]
See synonyms for: adoptadoptedadopting on

verb (used with object)
  1. to choose or take as one's own; make one's own by selection or assent: to adopt a nickname.

  2. to take responsibility for raising (someone else’s biological child) as one's own, specifically by a formal legal act: After more than 300 days in foster care, the twins were adopted by a family that was able to keep the siblings together.

  1. to acquire (a pet, especially one from an animal rescue organization): Local animal rescue groups use social media to persuade people to adopt dogs and cats from them instead of purchasing puppies and kittens from pet shops or breeders.

  2. to take or receive into any kind of new relationship: to adopt a person as a protégé.

  3. to select as a basic or required textbook or series of textbooks in a course.

  4. to vote to accept: The House adopted the report.

  5. to accept or act in accordance with (a plan, principle, etc.).

verb (used without object)
  1. to take a nonbiological child into one’s home and raise as one’s own.

  2. to acquire a pet, especially one from an animal rescue organization: “Adopt! Don’t shop!” is the popular slogan promoted by one nonprofit animal advocacy group.

Verb Phrases
  1. adopt out, to place in a home by means of adoption: The shelter provides basic medical care and vaccinations to the animals they will be adopting out.

Origin of adopt

First recorded 1490–1500; late Middle English adopten, partly from Middle French adopter, partly from Latin adoptāre, equivalent to ad- verb prefix + optāre “to desire, pray for”; see ad-, opt

Other words from adopt

  • a·dopt·er, noun
  • non·a·dopt·er, noun
  • pre·a·dopt, verb (used with object)
  • qua·si-a·dopt, verb (used with object)
  • qua·si-a·dopt·ed, adjective
  • re·a·dopt, verb (used with object)
  • un·a·dopt·ed, adjective
  • well-a·dopt·ed, adjective

Words that may be confused with adopt

Words Nearby adopt Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use adopt in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for adopt


/ (əˈdɒpt) /

  1. law to bring (a person) into a specific relationship, esp to take (another's child) as one's own child

  2. to choose and follow (a plan, technique, etc)

  1. to take over (an idea, etc) as if it were one's own

  2. to take on; assume: to adopt a title

  3. to accept (a report, etc)

Origin of adopt

C16: from Latin adoptāre to choose for oneself, from optāre to choose

Derived forms of adopt

  • adoptee, noun
  • adopter, noun
  • adoption, noun

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