ADD Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How to Use It

Your writing, at its best

Compose bold, clear, mistake-free, writing with Grammarly's AI-powered writing assistant

If you get distracted easily, have a relatively short attention span, and often struggle to stay on task, you may want to consider getting tested for ADD. What’s ADD, you ask? We’ll tell you. 

Read on as we explore ADD to uncover what this acronym stands for, its definition, usage, and more. 

What Is the Definition of ADD?

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the abbreviation ADD stands for Attention Deficit Disorder — an outdated term for what medical practitioners now call attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).  

What’s ADHD?

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) says ADHD is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects how you pay attention, sit still, and control your behavior. It can limit an individual’s ability to study or work and can lead to copious amounts of stress, unbearable anxiety, and intense mood swings. 

Think you might have this common condition? According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-V (DSM-5), six of the following symptoms of ADHD must be present to warrant a diagnosis:

  • Fidgeting, squirming, or otherwise struggles with sitting still
  • Has difficulty organizing tasks and activities
  • Tends to avoid tasks that require sustaining mental effort
  • Easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
  • Doesn’t follow through on instructions and struggles with deadlines/due dates.
  • Finds it challenging to provide close attention to details and/or makes careless mistakes
  • Often forgetful and loses things

What’s ADHD Combined Type?

Did you know that there are three types of ADHD? Yup, it’s true — the three types are as follows:

  • Primarily Inattentive ADHD (formerly called ADD)
  • Primarily Hyperactive and Impulsive ADHD
  • Combined Type ADHD

Those who have inattentive ADHD (or ADD) tend to struggle with paying attention and forgetfulness.

Folks who have predominantly hyperactive or impulsive-type ADHD, on the other hand, often experience more physical symptoms, such as being overly talkative, squirming or fidgeting, and inability to stay still. 

When an individual is both inattentive and hyper, a psychiatrist may diagnose them with combined type ADHD. To receive this diagnosis, a patient must demonstrate six or more symptoms of inattention as well as six or more symptoms of impulsivity and hyperactivity.  

Are There Any Coping Strategies for Those Living With ADHD?

If you’re an adolescent or adult struggling with ADHD — take a deep breath; there are many tips, tricks, and strategies that you can explore to help combat forgetfulness, boost focus, and improve your mood. Here are some of them:

  • Get an official diagnosis from a psychiatrist and discuss appropriate treatment
  • Practice good sleep hygiene 
  • Break large tasks down into small achievable goals
  • Do your best to keep all distractions to a minimum
  • Incorporate exercise into your daily routine to help you feel calm

Does ADD Mean Anything Else?

As a matter of fact, our word of the day does have a few other definitions. In addition to attention deficit disorder, the abbreviation ADD can mean:

  • Address
  • Addition
  • Addiction
  • Adduct
  • Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • Adduction
  • Anti-Dumping Duty
  • Advanced Dungeons and Dragons
  • Administration on Developmental Disabilities
  • Addendum
  • Alzheimer’s Disease Dementia
  • Anti-Dumping Duty
  • Another Damn Disappointment
  • American Dream Disorder
  • Audit and Due Diligence

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the verb add can also mean to put two or more numbers — or amounts — together to get a total. 

What Are the Synonyms and Antonyms of the Verb Add?

The verb “add” means to unite or join so as to increase the number, size, quantity, or importance. With this in mind, let’s take a look at a few synonyms and antonyms. 

A synonym is a term or phrase that has the same or nearly the same meaning as another term or phrase. Synonyms of the verb add include:

  • Attach
  • Build on
  • Add on
  • Put on
  • Put in
  • Adjoin
  • Append
  • Tack on
  • Join
  • Connect
  • Affix
  • Annex
  • Include
  • Prepend
  • Prefix

An antonym, on the other hand, is a term or phrase that has the exact opposite meaning of another term or phrase. Antonyms of the verb add include:

  • Remove
  • Detach
  • Amputate
  • Cut
  • Excise
  • Subtract
  • Sever
  • Separate
  • Unfasten
  • Abridge
  • Shorten
  • Cut back
  • Constrict

How Can You Use ADD in a Sentence?

Now that you understand the meaning behind “add,” you’re probably wondering how to use it in a sentence. Worry not; we’ve got you covered! Here are some example sentences using our word of the day, add:

“Matt doesn’t know how to add, so I offered to tutor him over the weekend.” 

“Is there enough room in the car to safely add one more person?”

“Did you know that ADD is a learning disorder?

“If you want to make the cookie recipe sweeter, just add more sugar.”

“After getting tested for ADD, I discovered that I have the inattentive type.”

“Don’t add too much pepper to the stir-fry or you’ll make it way too spicy!”

“When little kids have difficulty waiting, it’s sometimes a sign that they may have learning disabilities like ADD.”

“Could you please teach me how to add and subtract?”

“Don’t add any more water or the pancake batter will get soupy.”

“Please add more information to your email… I am still a bit confused about what you’re asking me to do!”

“If you add two apples to three apples, how many apples will you have?”

“I can’t add any more people to my wedding guest list or I’ll go broke.”

“Samantha was wondering if we could possibly add another person to the dinner reservation.”

Bottom Line

ADD is an outdated term for what medical experts now call attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Today, there is no ADD vs. ADHD. Why? Because ADD and ADHD are considered subtypes of the same condition!

Although ADD is widely known as attention deficit disorder, it can also be used as a verb meaning “to join” or “unite.”


What is ADHD? |

ADD : definition | Cambridge English Dictionary

Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Children | Johns Hopkins Medicine