I know the word has exploded in popularity in recent times, but I'm not sure how to use it right.

This TIME article considers the word a verb, so does this M-W blog. However, the ODO entry only mentions it as a mass noun or a modifier, conspicuously leaving out any mention of verbs:


[mass noun] The practice of behaving in a way characteristic of a responsible adult, especially the accomplishment of mundane but necessary tasks:

‘it feels really good to take a step back from adulting and have someone else cook dinner for me’

[as modifier] ‘I finished all my adulting requirements for the week’

I recognize that one dictionary entry doesn't prove/disprove anything. Still, if I think about it, I have to agree with ODO; because to me, sentences like:

  • I hate adulting.

sound idiomatic, but when I try to frame sentences that use it blatantly as a verb, like:

  • I adulted yesterday and I hated it.
  • I need to adult tomorrow and I'm not looking forward to it.

I'm not sure if they're idiomatic. My questions are:

  1. Can adulting be considered a verb, or is it just a noun?
  2. Do these sentences sound right, usage-wise?
  3. Are they grammatically correct?


  • Adulting was 2014 Word of the Year: it appears that AdultingBlog.com is responsible for its usage. quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/…
    – user66974
    Jan 11, 2017 at 10:04
  • @JOSH: It's popular, but somehow, I feel the word has slipped through the cracks of pop culture. Since I'm not from an Anglophone country, my primary source for the latest trends in English are movies and TV shows. (I remember 'Bad Moms' teaching me a lot about the word 'entitled' last year) But I don't recall hearing this word used even a single time. In fact, a hashtag, like in the posts from your link, seems to be it's primary use-case.
    – Tushar Raj
    Jan 11, 2017 at 10:17
  • 1
    Adulting as a verb is just one of the many examples from the trend of verbing nouns. oupeltglobalblog.com/tag/nouns-used-as-verbs - I'd personally not use it as a verb.
    – user66974
    Jan 11, 2017 at 10:26
  • 2
    I could have sworn this strip was older, 'verbing weirds language' gocomics.com/calvinandhobbes/2013/01/28
    – Spagirl
    Jan 11, 2017 at 14:15
  • 1
    @TusharRaj Who knows what the original date is, it can't have been 2013, he stopped drawing them in 1995, which suggests that weirding the language by verbing was prevalent then.
    – Spagirl
    Jan 11, 2017 at 14:20

1 Answer 1


There are many posts on ELU dealing with verbification or verbing which is

the creation of a verb from a noun, adjective or other word.

[Source: What is it called when a non-verb is used as a verb?]

The noun science could be used as a verb as the following question indicates.

“To science the sh*t out of something”

Verbification depends on whether a sentence using it is understandable or not. "To science the shit out of something" makes sense and to adult as a verb can make a sense, but it is not any more popular than using science as a verb. I think it is only used in a title or hashtag. You need to note that to adult can mean to grow up or take responsibility as in

How families can help kids learn to 'adult'.

[Source: CNBC.com]


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.