Children's, Intermediate and Advanced Online English Dictionary & Thesaurus

Word Explorer
Children's Dictionary



Note, Word History, Word Builder, Word Explorer, Word Parts
part of speech: verb
inflections: adopts, adopting, adopted
definition 1: to become a parent of (a child) by law, or to accept an animal as a pet and become responsible for it.
My mom and dad adopted a little girl from China, so now I have a sister.Sam's family adopted a dog at the animal shelter.
similar words:
foster, mother
definition 2: to take on and use as one's own.
When did you adopt that attitude towards school?She has adopted a weird laugh to get attention.
discard, reject
similar words:
accept, acquire, affect, borrow, embrace, take
definition 3: to accept by voting for.
Congress adopted the law.
approve, enact, pass
similar words:
back, endorse, ratify, sanction, vote for
derivations: adoptable (adj.), adopter (n.)
adopt or adapt?
Adopt means to accept a new thing as your own. Adapt means to make changes because of a new purpose or situation.
  • We adopted a puppy from the animal shelter.
  • The puppy soon adapted to its new home.
Word History
The English word adopt is from a Latin word adoptare that means "to choose for oneself" or "to choose as one's own." If you take away the prefix ad- from adoptare, the word optare is left. Optare means "to choose freely." Other English words that come from optare include "option" (a choice) and "opt" (choose).
Word Builder: adopt +
  • adopted:
    having been accepted by law.
Word Explorer
Word Parts  About this feature
The word adopt contains the following parts:
ad- Latin prefix that means to, toward
Show wordsHide wordsMore about this word part:
Originally a Latin preposition and prefix, ad- occurs in English in Latin loanwords. It has multiple forms, as the final 'd' sound in ad- assimilates to the initial sound of the base to which it is attached. See its assimilated forms: ac-, af-, ag-1, al-, an-, ap-, ar-, as-, and at-.
opt2 Latin root that means choose
Show wordsHide wordsExample words: