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having attained full size and strength; grown up; mature:
an adult person, animal, or plant.
of, relating to, or befitting adults.
intended for adults; not suitable for children:
adult entertainment.
a person who is fully grown or developed or of age.
a full-grown animal or plant.
a person who has attained the age of maturity as specified by law.
Contemporary Examples

Currently, she is at work on a novel set in the adult movie industry.
Women Have It Worse Susannah Breslin March 16, 2009

Employing students as janitors would be more beneficial than paying for adult janitors, he says.
Best Moments From the Fox News GOP Debate in Myrtle Beach (VIDEO) The Daily Beast Video January 16, 2012

“If I was a civilian, my daughter would hopefully be provided some support by the time she was an adult,” Hilton explains.
Jeremy Hilton: U.S. Military’s First Male Spouse of the Year Jesse Ellison May 23, 2012

The ghost writer in question is assumed to be one Siobhan Curham—an established author of both YA and adult fiction.
Meet Zoella—The Newbie Author Whose Book Sales Topped J.K. Rowling Lucy Scholes December 10, 2014

In that sense, the child will always be the instructor of the adult.
Life Under Air Strikes: Children Under Fire Will Never Forget — or Forgive Clive Irving August 2, 2014

Historical Examples

Measurements in parentheses are those of an adult male topotype of Sciurus tenuis.
Mammals Collected by Dr. W. L. Abbott on the Natuna Islands Gerrit Miller

To treat a child wholly as an adult would be to mock and destroy it.
A Treatise on Parents and Children George Bernard Shaw

adult persons’ ways of speaking are thus employed without an understanding of them; pure verbal memory.
The Mind of the Child, Part II W. Preyer

Here there was much to explore, though an adult might not have thought twice about it.
Poppa Needs Shorts Leigh Richmond

This skull is evidently that of an adult animal, all the sutures in the hinder region being closed.
Through the Heart of Patagonia H. Hesketh Prichard

having reached maturity; fully developed
of or intended for mature people: adult education
regarded as suitable only for adults, because of being pornographic: adult films and magazines
a person who has attained maturity; a grownup
a mature fully grown animal or plant
(law) a person who has attained the age of legal majority (18 years for most purposes) Compare infant

1530s (but not common until mid-17c.), from Latin adultus “grown up, mature, adult, ripe,” past participle of adolescere “grow up, mature” (see adolescent). As a euphemism for “pornographic,” it dates to 1958 and does no honor to the word.

“adult person,” 1650s, from adult (adj.).

adult a·dult (ə-dŭlt’, ād’ŭlt)

One who has attained maturity or legal age.

A fully grown, mature organism.

Fully developed and mature.


Euphemistically meaning unsuitable for children: adult entertainment (1950s+)


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