c. 1500, a back-formation from adoption or else from Old French adopter (14c.) or directly from Latin adoptare "chose for oneself, take by choice, select, adopt," especially "to take into a family, adopt as a child," from ad "to" (see ad-) + optare "choose, wish, desire" (see option (n.)). Originally in English also of friends, fathers, citizens, etc. Sense of "to legally take as one's own child" and that of "to embrace, espouse" a practice, method, etc. are from c. 1600. Related: Adopted; adopting.
updated on December 08, 2020