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absent-minded

or ab·sent·mind·ed

[ab-suh nt-mahyn-did]
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adjective
  1. 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 formsab·sent-mind·ed·ly, adverbab·sent-mind·ed·ness, noun

Synonyms

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withdrawn, musing, daydreaming, dreamy, forgetful, distracted.

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.

Antonyms

attentive, alert, heedful, observant.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for absentminded

Historical Examples

  • He was, therefore, absentminded, to a degree that made no end of gossip.

    Eben Holden

    Irving Bacheller

  • How did absentminded beggar's concluding testimonial conclude?

    Ulysses

    James Joyce

  • But how will you bear an absentminded man who, if he happens to see you, will kill you?

    The Man Who Was Thursday

    G. K. Chesterton

  • This too he seemed to give profound yet (if such a thing may be) absentminded attention.

    The Story of Louie

    Oliver Onions

  • It was with an absentminded nod that he acquiesced in the man's announcement that he might arrange about the boat for him.

    The Black Bag

    Louis Joseph Vance


British Dictionary definitions for absentminded

absent-minded

adjective
  1. preoccupied; forgetful; inattentive
Derived Formsabsent-mindedly, adverbabsent-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

Word Origin and History for absentminded

adj.

also absent-minded, "preoccupied," 1810, from absent + minded. Related: Absentmindedly; absentmindedness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper