Quiz: Remember the definition of mal de mer?


[uh-dap-ter] /əˈdæp tər/
a person or thing that adapts.
  1. a connector for joining parts or devices having different sizes, designs, etc., enabling them to be fitted or to work together.
  2. Also called plug adapter, adapter plug. a device that connects an electrical plug to an outlet that has a different plug shape:
    Last time I traveled, I brought the wrong adapter.
  3. Also called AC adapter, power adapter. a device with a cord that plugs into an electrical outlet and functions as an external power supply for a small or portable electronic device, usually converting AC current to DC:
    I forgot to plug in the adapter, and my laptop died.
an accessory to convert a machine, tool, or part to a new or modified use.
  1. expansion card.
  2. an external device containing the necessary circuitry to connect to or work with another device or system:
    a network adapter; a wireless adapter; a video adapter.
Also, adaptor.
1795-1805; adapt + -er1
Related forms
nonadapter, nonadaptor, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for adapter
  • When a suitably equipped device is placed on the pad, an adapter on its base makes contact with the nubs.
  • To plug two pairs of headphones in to an iPod, you have to buy a special adapter.
  • But road warriors might want to consider a third-party adapter.
  • You'll still have a wall adapter with a wire running to the dock.
  • Aero is only dependent on the capability of the graphics adapter.
  • If you plan to use any electronic devices, a voltage converter or plug adapter comes in handy.
  • The tunnel-adapter duct precludes dead air spaces in the tunnel adapter with the aft tunnel adapter hatch closed.
British Dictionary definitions for adapter


a person or thing that adapts
any device for connecting two parts, esp ones that are of different sizes or have different mating fitments
  1. a plug used to connect an electrical device to a mains supply when they have different types of terminals
  2. a device used to connect several electrical appliances to a single mains socket
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for adapter

1801, agent noun from adapt. Electrical engineering sense from 1907.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
adapter in Medicine

adapter a·dapt·er or a·dap·tor (ə-dāp'tər)

  1. One that adapts.

  2. A connecting part that joins two pieces of apparatus.

  3. A converter of electric current to a desired form.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for adapter

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for adapter

Scrabble Words With Friends