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or absentminded

[ab-suh nt-mahyn-did] /ˈæb səntˈmaɪn dɪd/
so lost in thought that one does not realize what one is doing, what is happening, etc.; preoccupied to the extent of being unaware of one's immediate surroundings.
Origin of absent-minded
First recorded in 1850-55
Related forms
absent-mindedly, adverb
absent-mindedness, noun
withdrawn, musing, daydreaming, dreamy, forgetful, distracted.
attentive, alert, heedful, observant.
Synonym Study
Absent-minded, abstracted, oblivious all mean inattentive to immediate surroundings. Absent-minded suggests an unintentional wandering of the mind from the present: an absent-minded committee member. Abstracted implies that the mind has been drawn away from the immediate present by reflection upon some engrossing subject: an abstracted air. Oblivious implies absorption in some thought that causes one to be completely forgetful of or unaware of one's surroundings: oblivious of danger. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for absent-minded
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I thought of all the absent-minded things he might do, but I never thought of this, no, I never!

  • “Of course,” repeated the great man, with a sort of absent-minded loftiness.

    The Secret Agent Joseph Conrad
  • Winnie maintained that he was much less “absent-minded” now.

    The Secret Agent Joseph Conrad
  • "I will think about it," replied my mother in an absent-minded way.

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
  • His face was downcast and he put the dishes on the table in an absent-minded way.

    The Widow O'Callaghan's Boys Gulielma Zollinger
  • It shows how absent-minded I am, for I ought to have thought of the wine long ago.

    One Day's Courtship Robert Barr
  • Aunty May said, "Yes, but you'll never have a chance to get absent-minded with this boy again."

    W. A. G.'s Tale Margaret Turnbull
  • "Oh, no; everything is going on all right," she replied, in an absent-minded way.

British Dictionary definitions for absent-minded


preoccupied; forgetful; inattentive
Derived Forms
absent-mindedly, adverb
absent-mindedness, noun
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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