[ uh-dop-tiv ]
/ əˈdɒp tɪv /


of or involving adoption.
acquired or related by adoption: an adoptive father or son.
tending to adopt.

Origin of adoptive

1400–50; < Latin adoptīvus; see adopt, -ive; replacing late Middle English adoptife < Middle French adoptif

Related forms

a·dop·tive·ly, adverbun·a·dop·tive, adjectiveun·a·dop·tive·ly, adverb

Can be confused

adaptive adoptiveadopted adoptive

Usage note

Although adoptive in the sense “acquired or related by adoption” can refer to either parent or child in such a relationship, adoptive is customarily applied to the parent ( her adoptive mother ) and adopted to the child ( their adopted son ). Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for adoptive

British Dictionary definitions for adoptive


/ (əˈdɒptɪv) /


acquired or related by adoptionan adoptive father
of or relating to adoptionCompare adopted
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