[ uh-dop-tee, ad-op- ]
/ ə dɒpˈti, ˌæd ɒp- /
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a person who is adopted.
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Origin of adoptee

First recorded in 1890–95; adopt + -ee
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does adoptee mean?

An adoptee is a person who has been permanently (and typically formally and legally) taken into the custody of an adult or adult couple who act as that person’s parent(s) or guardian(s).

In other words, an adoptee is someone who has been adopted. The process of adopting is adoption.

Many adoptees used the adjective adopted as a way to identify that they are adopted, as in I’m adopted.

The adjective adoptive means related by adoption. A person’s adoptive family is the one they were adopted into. The word can also be applied to specific family members related by adoption, as in adoptive father and adoptive daughter. However, adoptive is most commonly used for parents, while adopted is more commonly applied to a child who has been adopted, as in Their adopted daughter is the newest addition to the family. Adoptee is only used for the person who has been adopted.

Adoption most commonly involves an adult couple or a single adult adopting and raising a child who is no longer in the custody of either of their birth parents (biological parents), such as in cases where they have died or are otherwise unable to care for the child.

Example: The organization provides support for adoptees and their families.

Where does adoptee come from?

The first records of the word adoptee come from the 1800s. Its base word, adopt, comes from the Latin verb adoptāre, meaning “to choose for oneself,” from optāre, “to choose.” The suffix -ee is used to form nouns that are the object of the action specified by the base verb, as in employee and addressee.

Adoptees are often adopted by people who are unable or who choose not to have biological children, but adoption can also involve families with their own children adopting other children into the family. An adoptee can also be adopted by a relative, such as an aunt, uncle, or grandparent.

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How is adoptee used in real life?

People who have been adopted may identify themselves as adoptees. More commonly, they used the adjective adopted to identify themselves in this way.


Try using adoptee!

Is adoptee used correctly in the following sentence?

I’m an adoptee, and I’ve never felt like I wasn’t a real part of the family.

How to use adoptee in a sentence