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[apt] /æpt/
inclined; disposed; given; prone:
too apt to slander others.
Am I apt to find him at home?
unusually intelligent; able to learn quickly and easily:
an apt pupil.
suited to the purpose or occasion; appropriate:
an apt metaphor; a few apt remarks on world peace.
Archaic. prepared; ready; willing.
1350-1400; Middle English (< Anglo-French) < Latin aptus fastened, fitted, fitting, appropriate, equivalent to ap- fasten, attach + -tus past participle suffix
Related forms
aptly, adverb
aptness, noun
overapt, adjective
overaptly, adverb
overaptness, noun
Can be confused
apt, likely (see synonym study at the current entry; see usage note at likely)
1. liable. 2. See likely. 3. clever, bright; adaptable; handy, adroit, dexterous, skillful. 4. fitting, meet, germane, felicitous. Apt, pertinent, relevant all refer to something suitable or fitting. Apt means to the point and particularly appropriate: an apt comment. Pertinent means pertaining to the matter in hand: a pertinent remark. Relevant means directly related to and important to the subject: a relevant opinion.
Usage note
Some usage guides insist that apt followed by an infinitive can or should be used to mean only “inclined, disposed”: He is apt to ignore matters he regards as unimportant. In fact, apt is standard in all varieties of speech and writing as a synonym for likely in contexts that suggest probability without any implication of a natural disposition toward: Hostilities are apt to break out if the confrontation is not soon resolved. She is apt to arrive almost any time now. See also liable. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for aptness
  • The combination of aptness and familiarity means that clichés are constantly occurring to a writer.
  • Some pseudo-events cease to be pseudo because of their sheer aptness for the moment.
  • It is a simple trick, yet there has never been a more reliable gauge of a name's awfulness or aptness.
  • The writer simply finds himself enthralled with the beauty and perfect aptness of an expression or a thought that is not his own.
  • She smiled at the aptness of the image, but not happily.
  • These compounds aptness for fine tuning their properties, cataloged them as designer solvents.
  • There was no grading, each pupil being advanced according to his aptness.
  • The judiciary is not the appropriate governmental branch to question the wisdom, aptness or accuracy of a legislative action.
British Dictionary definitions for aptness


suitable for the circumstance or purpose; appropriate
(postpositive; foll by an infinitive) having a tendency (to behave as specified)
having the ability to learn and understand easily; clever (esp in the phrase an apt pupil)
Derived Forms
aptly, adverb
aptness, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Latin aptus fitting, suitable, from apere to fasten
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
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Word Origin and History for aptness
late 14c., "suited, fitted, adapted," from L. aptus "fit, suited," pp. of *apere "to attach, join, tie to," from PIE base *ap- "to grasp, take, reach" (cf. Skt. apnoti "he reaches," L. apisci "to reach after, attain," Hitt. epmi "I seize"). Elliptical sense of "becoming, appropriate" is from 1560s; sense of "habitually liable" is from 1520s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Related Abbreviations for aptness


  1. admissions per thousand
  2. advanced personnel testing
  3. apartment
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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