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An adapter can be a person or a thing.

Adapter can have two definitions with regard to people. For one, an adapter can be somebody who adapts a novel for presentation on film, television, radio or some other performance media. I often wonder if this sort of adapter is a frustrated novelist—someone who might be able to do a good job of manipulating other authors’ works to suit a new media, but who can’t come up with a new idea of his or her own.

If someone can readily adjust to new situations you might also call that person an adapter. I suppose this would be a good skill for a fugitive to have. He should be able to blend quickly into new environments as he can run from town to town without drawing attention, staying one step ahead of the law, and changing identities along the way. Not that I’d know anything about that, of course.

An adapter can also be a gadget that makes a connection between two otherwise incompatible things. For instance, there are a few different configurations of electrical plugs around the word. Adapters can make one type of plug fit into another type of socket by bridging the gap between the different configurations.

If, for example, you live in North America and travel to Europe and you take your camera, cellphone, music player, tablet computer, laptop computer and hair dryer, but you don’t have any adapters and you can’t find a store that sells them, you’re not going to get much use out of those gadgets because their plugs won’t fit into the electrical outlets in your hotel. On the other hand, with an adapter you can fit your two- or three-pronged North American plug into a two-cylinder European outlet by plugging the adapter into the wall and your plug into the adapter.

If you travel to some developing nations, you take sufficient adapters and you try to plug all of that gear in at once you may drain the entire power supply of the country. You might, therefore, want to simplify your life.

Adapter can also be spelled adaptor, because who doesn’t like having choices?

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