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[ab-suh n-tee-iz-uh m]
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  1. frequent or habitual absence from work, school, etc.: rising absenteeism in the industry.
  2. the practice of being an absentee landlord.

Origin of absenteeism

First recorded in 1820–30; absentee + -ism
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for absenteeism


  1. persistent absence from work, school, etc
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

Word Origin and History for absenteeism


1829, from absentee + -ism; originally in reference to landlords, especially in Ireland (absentee in this sense is in Johnson's dictionary); reference to pupils or workers is from 1922.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

absenteeism in Culture


Habitual absence from work, thought to reflect employee demoralization or dissatisfaction.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.