[ uh-dop-tiv ]

  1. of or involving adoption.

  2. acquired or related by adoption: an adoptive father or son.

  1. tending to adopt.

Origin of adoptive

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

usage note For adoptive

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 ).

Other words from adoptive

  • a·dop·tive·ly, adverb
  • un·a·dop·tive, adjective
  • un·a·dop·tive·ly, adverb

Words that may be confused with adoptive

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

How to use adoptive in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for adoptive


/ (əˈdɒptɪv) /

  1. acquired or related by adoption: an adoptive father

  2. of or relating to adoption: Compare 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