1350–1400; Middle English
) < Latin aptus
fastened, fitted, fitting, appropriate, equivalent to ap-
fasten, attach + -tus
past participle suffix
aptly, adverbaptness, nounoverapt, adjectiveoveraptly, adverboveraptness, noun
Can be confused
(see synonym study at the current entry; see usage note at likely
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.
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