KJV Dictionary Definition: adopt


ADOPT', v.t. L. adopto, of ad and opto, to desire or choose. See Option.

1. To take a stranger into one's family, as son and heir; to take one who is not a child, and treat him as one, giving him a title to the privileges and rights of a child.

2. In a spiritual sense, to receive the sinful children of men into the invisible church, and into God's favor and protection, by which they become heirs of salvation by Christ.

3. To take or receive as one's own, that which is not naturally so; as, to adopt the opinions of another; or to receive that which is new; as, to adopt a particular mode of husbandry.

4. To select and take; as, which mode will you adopt?


ADOPT'ED, pp. Taken as one's own; received as son and heir; selected for use.



1. One who adopts.

2. In chimistry, a large round receiver, with two necks, diametrically opposite to each other, one of which admits the neck of a retort, and the other is joined to another receiver. It is used in distillations, to give more space to elastic vapors, or to increase the length of the neck of a retort.


ADOPT'ING, ppr. Taking a stranger as a son; taking as one's own.


ADOP'TION, n. L. adoptio.

1. The act of adopting, or the state of being adopted; the taking and treating of a stranger as one's own child.

2. The receiving as one's own, what is new or not natural.

3. God's taking the sinful children of men into his favor and protection.

Adoption of arms, an ancient ceremony of presenting arms to one for his merit or valor, which laid the person under an obligation to defend the giver.

Adoption by baptism is the spiritual affinity which is contracted by god-fathers and god-children, in the ceremony of baptism. It was introduced into the Greek church, and afterwards among the ancient Franks. This affinity was supposed to entitle the god-child to a share of the god-father's estate.

Adoption by hair was performed by cutting off the hair of a person and giving it to the adoptive father. Thus Pope John VIII adopted Boson, king of Arles.

Adoption by matrimony is the taking the children of a wife or husband, by a former marriage, into the condition of natural children. This is a practice peculiar to the Germans; but is not so properly adoption as adfiliation.

Adoption by testament is the appointing of a person to be heir, by will, or condition of his taking the name, arms, &c. of the adopter.

In Europe, adoption is used for many kinds of admission to a more intimate relation, and is nearly equivalent to reception; as, the admission of persons into hospitals, or monasteries, or of one society into another.


ADOPT'IVE, a. L. adoptivus.

That adopts, as an adoptive father; or that is adopted, as an adoptive son.

ADOPT'IVE, n. A person or thing adopted.