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[uh-dopt] /əˈdɒpt/
verb (used with object)
to choose or take as one's own; make one's own by selection or assent:
to adopt a nickname.
to take and rear (the child of other parents) as one's own child, specifically by a formal legal act.
to take or receive into any kind of new relationship:
to adopt a person as a protégé.
to select as a basic or required textbook or series of textbooks in a course.
to vote to accept:
The House adopted the report.
to accept or act in accordance with (a plan, principle, etc.).
Verb phrases
adopt out, to place (a child) for adoption:
The institution may keep a child or adopt it out.
Origin of adopt
1490-1500; (< Middle French adopter) < Latin adoptāre, equivalent to ad- ad- + optāre to opt
Related forms
adopter, noun
nonadopter, noun
preadopt, verb (used with object)
quasi-adopt, verb (used with object)
quasi-adopted, adjective
readopt, verb (used with object)
unadopted, adjective
well-adopted, adjective
Can be confused
adapt, adept, adopt.
adopted, adoptive. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for adopted
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The first lawyer, you know, was a waif that was adopted by a tortoise and a fox.

    Memoirs of a Midget Walter de la Mare
  • "Some slaves have been publicly registered as adopted children," said Eudora.

    Philothea Lydia Maria Child
  • Why he adopted this course it is impossible to do more than conjecture.

  • During that ten days, and later, he adopted a systematic plan of work.

    Way of the Lawless Max Brand
  • I saw then that he had adopted as his motto: Evil, be thou my good!

    Ivory Apes and Peacocks James Huneker
British Dictionary definitions for adopted


having been adopted: an adopted child Compare adoptive


verb (transitive)
(law) to bring (a person) into a specific relationship, esp to take (another's child) as one's own child
to choose and follow (a plan, technique, etc)
to take over (an idea, etc) as if it were one's own
to take on; assume: to adopt a title
to accept (a report, etc)
Derived Forms
adoptee, noun
adopter, noun
adoption, 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
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Word Origin and History for adopted



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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