- to suck up or drink in (a liquid); soak up: A sponge absorbs water.
- to swallow up the identity or individuality of; incorporate: The empire absorbed many small nations.
- to involve the full attention of; to engross or engage wholly: so absorbed in a book that he did not hear the bell.
- to occupy or fill: This job absorbs all of my time.
- to take up or receive by chemical or molecular action: Carbonic acid is formed when water absorbs carbon dioxide.
- to take in without echo, recoil, or reflection: to absorb sound and light; to absorb shock.
- to take in and utilize: The market absorbed all the computers we could build. Can your brain absorb all this information?
- to pay for (costs, taxes, etc.): The company will absorb all the research costs.
- Archaic. to swallow up.
Origin of absorb
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for absorb
Similar reinforced plinths were developed by the Getty museums in Los Angeles to absorb the seismic movements there.Florence Preps ‘David’ for the Big One
Barbie Latza Nadeau
December 25, 2014
In the book, you say “Absorb youth and you will be absorbed by youth.”George Clinton on Industry ‘Mobsters’ and How Nobody Wants to Listen to a Crackhead
November 19, 2014
But the details of this massacre have been especially difficult to absorb.Anatomy of a Mexican Student Massacre
October 8, 2014
It gave me license to pore over raw tape, again and again, to absorb the subtle clues of human behavior.We Interrupt This Broadcast: How a TV Producer Learned to Write Fiction
September 9, 2014
“I welcome China to Africa because Africa is big enough to absorb China,” he said.The American Elite Embraces a New Africa at D.C. Summit
August 6, 2014
Accordingly he tried to absorb himself in his thoughts and listen to nothing.The Three Cities Trilogy, Complete
And meanwhile what began to interest and absorb me were sources--testimony.A Writer's Recollections (In Two Volumes), Volume I
Mrs. Humphry Ward
Does she suppose wounds of different kinds to "absorb" each other, so to speak?A Tangled Tale
These absorb the nourishment and turn it over to the embryo.The Meaning of Evolution
Samuel Christian Schmucker
He watched Pederson absorb that, too; he saw the excitement grow.We're Friends, Now
- to soak or suck up (liquids)
- to engage or occupy (the interest, attention, or time) of (someone); engross
- to receive or take in (the energy of an impact)
- physics to take in (all or part of incident radiated energy) and retain the part that is not reflected or transmitted
- to take in or assimilate; incorporate
- to accept and find a market for (goods, etc)
- to pay for as part of a commercial transactionthe distributor absorbed the cost of transport
- chem to cause to undergo a process in which one substance, usually a liquid or gas, permeates into or is dissolved by a liquid or solidporous solids absorb water; hydrochloric acid absorbs carbon dioxide Compare adsorb
Word Origin and History for absorb
early 15c., from Middle French absorber (Old French assorbir, 13c.), from Latin absorbere "to swallow up," from ab- "from" (see ab-) + sorbere "suck in," from PIE root *srebh- "to suck, absorb" (cf. Armenian arbi "I drank," Greek rhopheo "to sup greedily up, gulp down," Lithuanian srebiu "to drink greedily"). Figurative meaning "to completely grip (one's) attention" is from 1763. Related: Absorbed; absorbing.
- To take in by absorption.
- To reduce the intensity of transmitted light.