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adult

[ uh-duhlt, ad-uhlt ]
/ əˈdʌlt, ˈæd ʌlt /
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See synonyms for: adult / adults / adulthood / adultness on Thesaurus.com

noun
a person who is fully grown or developed or of age.
a full-grown animal or plant.
a person who has attained the age of maturity as specified by law.
adjective
verb (used without object)
Informal. (of a young person) to do things and assume responsibilities that are associated with being an adult; act like an adult (usually used facetiously about minor accomplishments): I cook dinner for myself most nights—guess that means I'm adulting.

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We Asked: What Does It Mean To Be An "Adult"?

Should we be using "adulting" instead of the word "adult" these days?

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Origin of adult

First recorded in 1525–35; from Latin adultus “grown” (past participle of adolēre “to make grow”), equivalent to ad- ad- + ul- (identical with base al- in aliment) + -tus past participle suffix

OTHER WORDS FROM adult

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

How to use adult in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for adult

adult
/ (ˈædʌlt, əˈdʌlt) /

adjective
having reached maturity; fully developed
of or intended for mature peopleadult education
regarded as suitable only for adults, because of being pornographicadult films and magazines
noun
a person who has attained maturity; a grownup
a mature fully grown animal or plant
law a person who has attained the age of legal majority (18 years for most purposes)Compare infant

Derived forms of adult

adulthood, noun

Word Origin for adult

C16: from Latin adultus, from adolēscere to grow up, from alēscere to grow, from alēre to feed, nourish
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

Medical definitions for adult

adult
[ ə-dŭlt, ădŭlt ]

n.
One who has attained maturity or legal age.
A fully grown, mature organism.
adj.
Fully developed and mature.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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