early 15c. (implied in adapted) "to fit (something, for some purpose)," from Old French adapter (14c.), from Latin adaptare "adjust, fit to," from ad "to" (see ad-) + aptare "to join," from aptus "fitted" (see apt). Intransitive meaning "to undergo modification so as to fit new circumstances" is from 1956. Related: Adapting.
word-forming element making adjectives from verbs, meaning "pertaining to, tending to; doing, serving to do," in some cases from Old French -if, but usually directly from Latin adjectival suffix -ivus (source also of Italian and Spanish -ivo). In some words borrowed from French at an early date it has been reduced to -y (as in hasty, tardy).