Say you move to a country where everyone cooks with lots of hot peppers. At first the food scalds your tongue, but over time you adapt — you change in a way that allows you to deal with the new circumstances.

Adapt comes from the ancient word ap, which means "take" or "grasp." Ap is even older than Latin — it comes from a lost language that was spoken by the common ancestors of modern-day Indians and Europeans and has since been reconstructed by linguists, who named it the Proto-Indo-European language, or PIE. So what does adapt have to do with grasp? If you adapt to, say, a new country, it's as though you're grabbing hold of its strange, slippery customs.

Definitions of adapt

v make fit for, or change to suit a new purpose

Adapt our native cuisine to the available food resources of the new country”
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make correspondent or conformable
gear, pitch
set the level or character of
insert or adjust several objects or people
anglicise, anglicize
make English in appearance
fit for a specific purpose even when not well suited
orient, tailor
adjust to a specific need or market
domesticate, tame
make fit for cultivation, domestic life, and service to humans
cultivate, domesticate, naturalise, naturalize, tame
adapt (a wild plant or unclaimed land) to the environment
adapt in the name of Christianity
naturalise, naturalize
adopt to another place
electrify, wire
equip for use with electricity
rewrite or arrange a piece of music for an instrument or medium other than that originally intended
popularise, popularize
make understandable to the general public
Type of:
alter, change, vary
become different in some particular way, without permanently losing one's or its former characteristics or essence

v adapt or conform oneself to new or different conditions

adjust, conform
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readapt, readjust
adjust anew
adapt anew
become similar to one's environment
focalise, focalize, focus
become focussed or come into focus
acclimate, acclimatise, acclimatize
get used to a certain climate
be equal or harmonize
be obedient to
cause to match, as of ideas or acts
assimilate culturally
abide by, comply, follow
act in accordance with someone's rules, commands, or wishes
take orders
receive and be expected to follow directions or commands
heed, listen, mind
pay close attention to; give heed to
Type of:
undergo a change; become different in essence; losing one's or its original nature

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