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[ab-suh ns] /ˈæb səns/
state of being away or not being present:
I acted as supervisor in his absence. Your absence was noted on the records.
period of being away:
an absence of several weeks.
failure to attend or appear when expected.
lack; deficiency:
the absence of proof.
inattentiveness; preoccupation; absent-mindedness:
absence of mind.
Origin of absence
1350-1400; Middle English < Middle French < Latin absentia. See absent, -ia
1. presence. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for absences
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Mrs. Jupe's absences from home were now more frequent than ever.

    The Christian Hall Caine
  • Had these daily absences any connection with the great mystery?

    The Woman-Haters Joseph C. Lincoln
  • It was during one of these absences of hers that Lyle made his appearance.

    Olive Dinah Maria Craik, (AKA Dinah Maria Mulock)
  • In his absences she jumped from stage to stage of character—almost of identity!

    Blow The Man Down Holman Day
  • I am prepared for blame on account of some of the absences of mention.

British Dictionary definitions for absences


the state of being away
the time during which a person or thing is away
the fact of being without something; lack
Word Origin
C14: via Old French from Latin absentia, from absēns a being away
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for absences



late 14c., from Old French absence (14c.), from Latin absentia, noun of state from absentem (nominative absens), present participle of abesse "be away from, be absent," from ab- "away" (see ab-) + esse "to be" (see essence).

Absence makes the heart grow fonder
[Thomas Haynes Bayly (1797-1839) "Isle of Beauty"]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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absences in Medicine

absence ab·sence (āb'səns)
See petit mal.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Idioms and Phrases with absences


In addition to the idiom beginning with absence also see: conspicuous by its absence
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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