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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withdrawn, musing, daydreaming, dreamy, forgetful, distracted.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 absentmindedly
Historical Examples
  • "Maybe—maybe they did it kind of absentmindedly," Pee-wee said.

    Pee-wee Harris Percy Keese Fitzhugh
  • You have moved down there for us, and came in here now absentmindedly?

    Tommy Tregennis

    Mary Elizabeth Phillips
  • M. Raindal followed her, absentmindedly playing with his gloves.

    Two banks of the Seine Fernand Vandrem
  • Then, begged for one lump, she absentmindedly dropped in three, while talking with Starr.

  • He made his way around the house at the back, absentmindedly feeling for his coat pocket and his pipe.

    The Lilac Girl

    Ralph Henry Barbour
  • Mac got as far as Nora Darling, absentmindedly inserted a comma between the words, and there stuck hopelessly.

    Wyoming, a Story of the Outdoor West William MacLeod Raine
  • absentmindedly he turned the envelope over and jotted down one or two other things.

    Crooked Trails and Straight William MacLeod Raine
  • Beethoven wrote, as if absentmindedly, Ludwig Ludwig am 13ten Jenner 1822.

  • He comforted her, absentmindedly, and dressed in the dark, swearing at the clumsy leggings.

    The Valor of Cappen Varra Poul William Anderson
  • "Margery wants to go," announced Happie, absentmindedly rearranging the doll's hair.

    Six Girls and Bob

    Marion Ames Taggart
British Dictionary definitions for absentmindedly


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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