• synonyms


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 and rear (the child of other parents) as one's own child, specifically by a formal legal act.
  3. to take or receive into any kind of new relationship: to adopt a person as a protégé.
  4. to select as a basic or required textbook or series of textbooks in a course.
  5. to vote to accept: The House adopted the report.
  6. to accept or act in accordance with (a plan, principle, etc.).
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Verb Phrases
  1. adopt out, to place (a child) for adoption: The institution may keep a child or adopt it out.
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Origin of adopt

1490–1500; (< Middle French adopter) < Latin adoptāre, equivalent to ad- ad- + optāre to opt
Related formsa·dopt·er, nounnon·a·dopt·er, nounpre·a·dopt, verb (used with object)qua·si-a·dopt, verb (used with object)qua·si-a·dopt·ed, adjectivere·a·dopt, verb (used with object)un·a·dopt·ed, adjectivewell-a·dopt·ed, adjective
Can be confusedadapt adept adoptadopted adoptive
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for unadopted

Historical Examples

  • We ought not to encourage any discrimination between the adopted and the unadopted illegitimate child.

    Race Improvement : or, Eugenics : a Little Book on a Great Subject

    La Reine Helen Baker

  • He who finds some unadopted speciality possesses a means of his own for getting a living.

    Darwin and Modern Science

    A.C. Seward and Others

  • He who finds some unadopted specialty possesses a means of his own for getting a living.

British Dictionary definitions for unadopted


  1. (of a child) not adopted
  2. British (of a road, etc) not maintained by a local authority
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verb (tr)
  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)
  3. to take over (an idea, etc) as if it were one's own
  4. to take on; assumeto adopt a title
  5. to accept (a report, etc)
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Derived Formsadoptee, nounadopter, nounadoption, noun

Word Origin

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

Word Origin and History for unadopted



c.1500, a back-formation from adoption or else from Middle French adopter or directly from Latin adoptare "take by choice, choose for oneself, select, choose" (especially a child). Originally in English also of friends, fathers, citizens, etc. Sense of "to legally take as one's own child" and that of "to embrace, espouse" a practice, method, etc. are from c.1600. Related: Adopted; adopting.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper