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[adjective, preposition ab-suh nt; verb ab-sent, ab-suh nt] /adjective, preposition ˈæb sənt; verb æbˈsɛnt, ˈæb sənt/
not in a certain place at a given time; away, missing (opposed to present):
absent from class.
lacking; nonexistent:
Revenge is absent from his mind.
not attentive; preoccupied; absent-minded:
an absent look on his face.
verb (used with object)
to take or keep (oneself) away:
to absent oneself from a meeting.
in the absence of; without:
Absent some catastrophe, stock-market prices should soon improve.
Origin of absent
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin absent- (stem of absēns, present participle of abesse to be away (ab- ab- + -s- be (see is) + -ent- -ent))
Related forms
[ab-suh n-tey-shuh n] /ˌæb sənˈteɪ ʃən/ (Show IPA),
absenter, noun
absentness, noun
nonabsentation, noun
1. out, off.
1. present. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for absenting
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Sir Richard Saltonstall was fined four bushels of malt for absenting himself from the meeting.

  • It is noteworthy that he was never fined for absenting himself as others were.

    Shakespeare's Family Mrs. C. C. Stopes
  • As the time for the wedding drew near, Voorst fell into the way of absenting himself a good deal from home.

    Just Sixteen. Susan Coolidge
  • Or has she another motive for absenting herself so frequently from her home?

    The Wild Huntress Mayne Reid
  • Fifty years ago hardly any one thought of absenting himself or herself from public worship.

  • Yet I suppose he was in the habit of absenting himself from home?

    The Leavenworth Case Anna Katherine Green
  • The natives of the place had offended the Khalifa by absenting themselves from Omdurman, and so were being cruelly maltreated.

    Khartoum Campaign, 1898 Bennet Burleigh
  • You are going to desolate us, Jacintito, by absenting yourself?

    The Wolf Cub Patrick Casey
  • Instead of absenting himself from home, Frederick was unremitting in his attendance upon her.

    Great Porter Square, v. 1 Benjamin Leopold Farjeon
British Dictionary definitions for absenting


adjective (ˈæbsənt)
away or not present
lacking; missing
inattentive; absent-minded
verb (æbˈsɛnt)
(transitive) to remove (oneself) or keep away
Derived Forms
absenter, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Latin absent-, stem of absēns, present participle of abesse to be 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 absenting



late 14c., from Middle French absent (Old French ausent), from Latin absentem (nominative absens), present participle of abesse "be away from, be absent" (see absence). Related: Absently; absentness.


"to keep away" (from), c.1400, from Middle French absenter, from Late Latin absentare "cause to be away," from Latin absentem (see absent (adj.)). Related: Absented; absenting.


"in the absence of," 1944, principally from U.S. legal use, from absent (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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