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Line breaks: adult
Pronunciation: /ˈadʌlt
, əˈdʌlt

Definition of adult in English:


1A person who is fully grown or developed: children should be accompanied by an adult
More example sentences
  • The years passed as the children grew into adults, left home and came home again when on holidays.
  • It's about two youths and the evolution of their relationship as they grow into adults.
  • How can something so small require the undivided attention of two grown adults and still not be satisfied?
grown person, grown man, grown woman, grown-up person, grown-up, mature person, mature man, mature woman, person of mature age;
man, woman, gentleman, lady
1.1A fully developed animal.
Example sentences
  • John White invented a device, using a laser, to knock out just one cell in a worm, either in a developing animal or an adult.
  • The latter possibility is very unlikely, as the animal was an adult.
  • The four adult and two baby animals will travel down from their home in the Cairngorm mountains of Scotland to pull the sledge, laden with toys, around town.
1.2 Law A person who has reached the age of majority.
Example sentences
  • It also discussed the current position, whereby the consent of an adult with parental responsibility will be valid even when the child is able to give a valid consent but refuses to do so.
  • Were he an adult with a criminal record, it is almost certain he would face a significant period of imprisonment.
  • The Appellant is now a young adult of 20 years of age.


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1Fully grown or developed: an adult woman
More example sentences
  • It is assumed, in these contexts, that normal, fully developed adult human beings are responsible beings.
  • Most animals are developmentally programmed to grow to a characteristic adult size.
  • In the 10 years since then, children's fare has grown more sophisticated and adult expectations have diminished, creating a space in the middle where they can all meet.
mature, grown-up, fully grown, full-grown, fully developed, fully fledged, of age, having reached one's majority;
in one's prime, in full bloom
1.1Of or for adult people: adult education
More example sentences
  • With no education or adult help, this is a daunting task.
  • The children will devise, plan and implement a programme to get adult relatives back into education.
  • Teenage mothers often face daunting obstacles to completing their education and achieving adult independence.
1.2Emotionally and mentally mature: an effort to be adult and civilized
More example sentences
  • ‘He is determined to turn his life around and deal with matters in a more responsible, mature and adult way,’ Mr Jones said.
  • And he should be adult enough and mature enough and experienced enough to understand it.
  • Mature, adult comprehension can lead us all to see that there are some very intelligent and worthy of praise men out there.
1.3Suitable only for adults (used euphemistically to refer to a sexually explicit film, book, or magazine).
Example sentences
  • It turned out the lawyers were referring to dozens of adult magazines seized from his home.
  • We also assessed the availability of products that could be used as educational or therapeutic products, such as adult magazines, books, and videos.
  • Dietz and Sears examined books, magazines, and films in adult bookstores in four cities.
sexually explicit, obscene, pornographic, hard-core, soft-core, lewd, smutty, dirty, filthy, vulgar, crude, rude, racy, risqué, ribald, naughty, arousing, earthy, Rabelaisian, erotic, carnal, sensual, sexy, suggestive, titillating, spicy, raw, taboo, off colour, indecent, improper
North American informal gamy
rare rank, ithyphallic, Fescennine, Cyprian


mid 16th century: from Latin adultus, past participle of adolescere 'grow to maturity' (see adolescent).



Example sentences
  • The distinction between childhood and early adulthood has also blurred.
  • Music nurtured them as they grew up and they want to keep making music as they continue into adulthood.
  • But it is less well known that it often continues to affect sufferers throughout adulthood.


Example sentences
  • Now that I'm all grown up, I have indulged both Mathra and myself in some adultly decadent hot chocolate.
  • His widely opened eyes, once cheerful were adultly profound and wise.
  • It has grown a classic literary and graphic work over the last thirty years, due to the childishly naive, yet adultly irrational outlook of the writer and the illustrator.

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