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To adapt means to become suitable or to make something (or one’s self) suitable for the situation that the thing or person is in, that situation being different from the the situation that the thing or person was in before. This change in situation might have come about because of a changing environment (the word “environment” being used loosely to mean all surrounding conditions) or because of a change in location.

“Adapt or die” is a common saying. This could be said either as a threat or, if the environment is particularly inhospitable, as a warning. In either case, the fact that it is a common saying provides an illustration of how violent the common usage of our language is. Even when it is a valid warning, they could have broken it to it a little more gently.

Then again, over the great expanse of time on Earth, when the environment changed drastically, species that didn’t adapt did die. Like they say, it’s a cruel world out there.

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