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Avoid these words. Seriously.


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withdrawn, musing, daydreaming, dreamy, forgetful, distracted.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 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
  • He gave her an absentminded squeezing of the hand nearest him by way of answer without lifting his eyes from his book.

    The Heart of Arethusa

    Francis Barton Fox
  • Should have remembered to bring a flashlight, but he was old and absentminded, and there was no one to remind him.

    The Chapter Ends Poul William Anderson
  • The young man recovered himself from his absentminded stare in the direction Grace had taken, with a frank laugh.

    Dr. Breen's Practice William Dean Howells
British Dictionary definitions for absentminded


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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Word Origin and History for absentminded

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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