Definition of adopt in English:



  • 1Legally take (another's child) and bring it up as one's own.

    ‘there are many people eager to adopt a baby’
    • ‘Of this number, half of the families adopt healthy infants.’
    • ‘The children were adopted from two orphanages in Hunan province.’
    • ‘From what I have gathered they are going to adopt an orphan and have told many people.’
    • ‘We have laws in this country to decide whether a couple are legally fit to adopt a child.’
    • ‘If a person legally adopts a child there can be several complications.’
    • ‘Some time before I got to know her, Mona adopted a baby girl named Ayesha.’
    • ‘But just because you can legally adopt a child does not necessarily mean it is in the best interests of that child to be adopted by you.’
    • ‘Clare and Dan adopted three youngsters, aged three, four and seven.’
    • ‘No one would adopt a seventeen-year-old orphan.’
    • ‘However, he has no living relatives that will adopt the orphan.’
    • ‘We can legally marry and adopt children in every jurisdiction.’
    • ‘Foundlings were adopted by neighbors, and accorded privileged status in the community, by way of compensating them for the loss of their parents.’
    • ‘There are really no rules of thumb, but older couples are less likely to adopt infants and many younger couples prefer babies in order to fit in with peer groups.’
    • ‘‘Each household in a functioning community can adopt orphans and others who have no homes anymore,’ he said.’
    • ‘About 4,939 Russian children are legally adopted by foreigners each year, but 184,000 still languish in orphanages.’
    • ‘Legally, they could then adopt children in Florida.’
    • ‘When you adopt a child, he or she is legally yours; you have all the rights and responsibilities that a birth parent has.’
    • ‘The couple adopted two children, a boy and a girl.’
    • ‘In the USA last year 46,000 foster care children were adopted - an increase of 65 per cent on the figure in 1996.’
    • ‘Such couples may have to wait a number of years before they can legally adopt a child.’
  • 2Choose to take up or follow (an idea, method, or course of action)

    ‘this approach has been adopted by many big banks’
    • ‘Though there was a lot of criticism from various quarters at that time, today the present coaches are adopting the method, which was introduced by Balkishen Singh.’
    • ‘Some of the Chinese have adopted the western method of toasting, but where this is the case, everyone must touch everyone else's glass during the toasting and before drinking.’
    • ‘For this final experiment, we are adopting a new method.’
    • ‘A few astrologers have chosen to adopt a third method of division.’
    • ‘At the birth of the Second Republic, 90% of Italians voted to adopt a first-past-the-post method.’
    • ‘Only a few firms succeeded in not only getting bigger, but also in adopting the American methods of managerial organization adequate to their new size.’
    • ‘At the same time, some readers may find both essays comforting; after all, both authors have elected to adopt new methods in their research programs.’
    • ‘Until that time, sauces followed the Roman method adopted by Taillevent: where thick pieces of stale bread were soaked in liquid and then strained through cloth.’
    • ‘Successive generations, of course, have adopted American ways for dealing with the medical community.’
    • ‘It is important to keep in mind that whatever method is adopted for quitting smoking, the most important factors are conviction and willpower.’
    • ‘The idea is that Keynes during his career adopted a particular method of investigation based on the close connection between theory and practice.’
    • ‘The women claim they have adopted a simple method to ensure men don't drink: they take their evening meals by 6 pm.’
    • ‘He adopted the method of the ‘snapshot,’ of the intimate and the incidental, as a ‘style.’’
    • ‘I agree that this was an option and not obligatory, but most consulting engineers chose to adopt this method, as it satisfied the needs for the brief and avoided the need for dimensioning the drawings.’
    • ‘The Catholic and Protestant Churches adopted different methods.’
    • ‘Many complain about the way in which editing techniques have, in the hope of creating excitement, adopted the methods used in music videos.’
    • ‘The latest developments have also inspired some political analysts to urge the state to adopt a different method of dealing with the group.’
    • ‘By adopting the method, Mr. Haridas is able to even defeat a computer in calculations.’
    • ‘People who go through this dilemma expect their organisations to motivate them to work by adopting methods such as get-togethers, meditation and yoga programmes.’
    • ‘It means adopting different methods for different groups.’
    embrace, take on, acquire, affect, espouse, assume, appropriate, arrogate
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    1. 2.1Choose and move to (a country or city) as one's permanent place of residence.
      • ‘I've adopted this country and feel a certain amount of responsibility towards it.’
      • ‘They can trace back their ancestors, who came to India and adopted this country as their own and identify with them.’
      • ‘Why shouldn't we open our highest office to those who have adopted this country as their own and have proved their patriotism through decades of devoted citizenship?’
      • ‘From humble beginnings in the Welsh valleys he became a national celebrity, who adopted this city as his home and became one of Bradford's leading and best-loved citizens.’
  • 3Take on or assume (an attitude or position)

    ‘he adopted a patronizing tone’
    • ‘She is an antireductionist - a position sometimes adopted by those who dislike what they perceive to be the direction of modern genetics.’
    • ‘The football associations of Wales and Northern Ireland have adopted a similar position.’
    • ‘The political parties are also jostling with each other for favour with the voters by adopting hard-line positions.’
    • ‘They had to be flexible, and adopt different positions to accommodate ever changing circumstances.’
    • ‘As both sides adopted firm positions yesterday, it was confirmed that a strike at the company's pig farms will begin on Monday the day before the major work stoppage.’
    • ‘Like much of continental philosophy, feminist continental philosophy adopts a critical position with regard to reason.’
    • ‘No matter what the Court may announce on Monday, it will not be adopting this extreme position.’
    • ‘I was adopting a position of enlightened intellectual who was going to teach my Midwestern students about the realities and inequalities of their nation.’
    • ‘States have adopted different positions on this.’
    • ‘Dunbar adopts an intriguing position on the origin of language, seeing it as taking over many of the social functions of physical contact and grooming that for many monkey species take up a considerable part of each day.’
    • ‘If both parties were to adopt extreme positions, no bills at all could be passed.’
    • ‘One cannot be sure what it was about the appearance or the behaviour of this insect that led the Greeks to call it, too, mantis; perhaps its habit of adopting a motionless position as if transfixed.’
    • ‘Both government and opposition have been adopting positions which they will repeat over and over again during the period of this parliament.’
    • ‘This time around, the union says it consulted its members widely before adopting a negotiating position, which now stresses cultural and family issues.’
    • ‘Assuming an effective role as mediator in the region, the group might be able to adopt a position where it could exert a highly positive influence over the future of the region for a long time to come.’
    • ‘Shortly after that the pilot told us it was a full emergency landing and we had to adopt the brace position.’
    • ‘Flight crew triggered a full emergency, donning smoke hoods and telling passengers to adopt brace positions before the plane landed safely 12 minutes later at 8.47 am.’
    • ‘Not all writers adopting a constructionist position are similarly prepared to acknowledge the existence or at least importance of an objective reality.’
    • ‘To be fair, I think this is the fault of both sides, and leaders on both ends need to make the conscious decision to cooperate issue by issue instead of adopting a polarized position by default.’
    • ‘The government adopted the position that the reactors should be decommissioned in 2006, but insisted on a safety inspection.’
    1. 3.1British Choose (someone) as a candidate for office.
      ‘she was recently adopted as Labour candidate for the constituency’
      • ‘A British senior civil servant, in contrast, is required to resign his post once he is adopted as a prospective political candidate, and very few have followed this course.’
      • ‘Nationalist stalwarts foregather in Elgin tonight to adopt their candidate for the forthcoming Moray by-election, now declared for April 27.’
      • ‘In 1921 he was adopted as a Labour candidate for Battersea North.’
      • ‘He was officially adopted as a prospective candidate at a party meeting on Monday, April 18, 1955.’
      • ‘The Orkney Conservative Party are due to adopt Christopher Zawadski as their prospective parliamentary candidate to stand in the next election.’
      • ‘After coming joint top of the civil service exam, he joined the sector in 1946, only to resign the following year when he was adopted as the Parliamentary candidate for Bexley.’
      • ‘In 1926, after returning to England from living in the United States, she was adopted as a Conservative candidate in the East End of London.’
      • ‘In 1962, in Sir David's final year at university, he was adopted as prospective parliamentary candidate for the Pentlands.’
      • ‘He was adopted as a parliamentary candidate in 1976 and within two years was on a key Scottish Labour Party committee.’
      • ‘Livingstone has said that if he is adopted as party candidate, he will nominate Gavron as his running mate for deputy.’
      • ‘The local Tory party in Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross was due yesterday to take a decision on whether to adopt him as a candidate.’
      choose, select, pick, pick out, vote for, elect, settle on, decide on, single out, plump for, opt for, name, nominate, designate, appoint
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    2. 3.2Formally approve or accept (a report or suggestion)
      ‘the committee voted 5–1 to adopt the proposal’
      • ‘The Council approved the insertion of some minor clarifications in language and then adopted the amended report as Association policy.’
      • ‘If the report is widely adopted by the funders and builders of dams, it will pave the way for a new era of protecting rivers and the communities that depend upon them.’
      • ‘On the face of it, if the recommendations made by this report were adopted as Government policy, there would be clear benefits for infrequent road users.’
      • ‘He said the report was not adopted unanimously.’
      • ‘More detailed labelling on products for consumers would also result if the report is adopted by the minister.’
      • ‘His report was adopted by the British government and the two colonies were united in 1841.’
      • ‘It is unusual for a Japanese court to adopt reports by foreign investigative authorities as evidence.’
      • ‘The committee unanimously voted to adopt the report and take the first steps towards implementing some of the suggestions.’
      • ‘Only 15 of the 55 of the respondents reported having a formally adopted a written programmatic assessment plan.’
      • ‘The councillors concluded by adopting the report and agreed to promote the idea that every house in the town should have smoke alarms installed.’
      • ‘The recommendations of the Harvard report were gratefully adopted by many authorities who were faced with these problems.’
      • ‘The final report was adopted by the plenary session in February 1987.’
      • ‘After that, the city council will decide which suggestions will be formally adopted.’
      • ‘The report was adopted at the top security meeting of ministers in charge of defense and foreign affairs.’
      • ‘Those measures are expected to be formally adopted by the approvals social services committee next Tuesday.’
      • ‘The report was yesterday adopted by all senators with the Opposition fully in support of its contents and the eventual conclusion.’
      • ‘It was agreed to adopt the report outlining the proposals as the basis for consultation with interested parties.’
      • ‘It is all the more important, therefore, that ministers adopt the report's recommendations.’
      • ‘But what would he do if the report is not adopted?’
      • ‘While the report was adopted unanimously, two members assented with qualifications.’
      embrace, take on, acquire, affect, espouse, assume, appropriate, arrogate
      View synonyms
  • 4British (of a local authority) accept responsibility for the maintenance of (a road).

    • ‘The Council has sent out letters telling residents that the Council are going to adopt the roads, but we, the residents, are being asked to pay to bring the roads up to standard before they get adopted.’
    • ‘A Wiltshire County Council spokesman said plans were in hand for the council to adopt the road as a highway in a year's time.’
    • ‘Essex County Council has also agreed to adopt roads and is also subsidising a bus service.’
    • ‘The roads were adopted by the county council in 1964, but she stated that she did not believe the council had carried out its responsibilities of maintaining the roads and paths.’


Late 15th century: via French from Latin adoptare, from ad- to + optare choose.