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withdrawn, musing, daydreaming, dreamy, forgetful, distracted.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


British Dictionary definitions for absentmindedly

absent-minded

adjective
  1. preoccupied; forgetful; inattentive
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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