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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withdrawn, musing, daydreaming, dreamy, forgetful, distracted.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-mindedly
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She was listening to him absent-mindedly and looking about her, her fan laid to her lips.

    A Hero of Our Time M. Y. Lermontov
  • "Oh, she has declared her intention," murmured Lingard, absent-mindedly.

    The Rescue Joseph Conrad
  • absent-mindedly he tried a pinch of the snuff, inhaling it into his nostrils.

    The Ivory Snuff Box Arnold Fredericks
  • Janet had dropped it absent-mindedly in her lap; she now took it up again.

    The Wrong Woman

    Charles D. Stewart
  • He had absent-mindedly strayed into the wrong continent and the wrong creed.

    A Miscellany of Men G. K. Chesterton
  • "Possibly," remarked Pierre, looking about him absent-mindedly.

    War and Peace Leo Tolstoy
  • "84, Cavendish Mansions," murmured Mr. Hoggins absent-mindedly.

    The Angel of Terror Edgar Wallace
  • "I like this country very much," said Edouard absent-mindedly.

  • She held out her hand to him in a friendly way, but absent-mindedly.

    Smoke Turgenev Ivan Sergeevich
British Dictionary definitions for absent-mindedly


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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