Definition of adoptive in US English:



  • 1attributive As a result of the adoption of another's child.

    ‘he is the adoptive father of his wife's three children’
    • ‘One of the questions I'm often asked as an adoptive mom is whether I'll "let" Alex find her biological family - almost as if I'd have a choice if she wanted to do so.’
    • ‘She raised me for my first three years on her own after which she got married and I've known and loved that man as my father ever since, but have always known that he was my adoptive father.’
    • ‘Obviously it is easier on the child and adoptive parents if the child is adopted at an early age.’
    • ‘She admits she was never interested in finding out more about her father until her adoptive father died last year, aged 95.’
    • ‘My adoptive mother gave me a copy of his obituary and three pictures of my father and told me the story.’
    • ‘We spent most of the session talking about her relationship with her adoptive father, Eric.’
    • ‘His adoptive mother says the 12-year-old charms everyone he meets - although he often tries their patience with his enormous energy.’
    • ‘Like so many adoptive children he is caught up in a compulsive search to discover the truth about his real parentage.’
    • ‘An adoption order transfers the child's legal relationship from the original family to the new adoptive family.’
    • ‘Now many of those couples are helping their adoptive children uncover their cultural roots.’
    • ‘The son of a German artisan, he was probably born in Venice, and apprenticed to his adoptive father Giulio.’
    1. 1.1 Denoting a country or city to which a person has moved and in which they have chosen to make their permanent place of residence.
      • ‘She has eschewed her adoptive city of Glasgow, however, in favour of Chapel Allerton, in Leeds, Yorkshire's financial heart.’
      • ‘My former colleague is now well into his 90s, but is as spry and fit as the day when he swam out to meet the submarine sent to take him back to his adoptive homeland.’
      • ‘It gives incomers to the highlands and islands a link to their adoptive country that's very much more real than blood or poetry.’
      • ‘Kate, who now lives and plays in and around Liverpool, will be bringing in a host of musicians to the Lakes from her adoptive home city.’
      • ‘She, however, has no idea when - or if - he'll be allowed to return to his adoptive country.’
      • ‘The contribution made by individual refugees to their adoptive homeland will also be explored, as will the experiences of refugees more recently.’
      • ‘Sylvia worked for Ethiopian independence and Adela was involved in the launch of the Communist party in her adoptive country.’
      • ‘She dwells on her charming manner, love of clothes, loyalty to her brother and, in later life, to her adoptive city.’
      • ‘His final resting place was his beloved adoptive country - Singapore.’
      • ‘To the emigrant Irish and to their adoptive countries, the shamrock logo represented all that was best in Irishness.’
      • ‘At the 2000 Games, she won the silver medal for her adoptive country in the first women's Olympic pole vault.’


Late Middle English: via Old French from Latin adoptivus, from adoptare ‘select for oneself’ (see adopt).