[ ab-suhns ]
See synonyms for absence on Thesaurus.com
  1. state of being away or not being present: I acted as supervisor in his absence. Your absence was noted on the records.

  2. period of being away: an absence of several weeks.

  1. failure to attend or appear when expected.

  2. lack; deficiency: the absence of proof.

  3. inattentiveness; preoccupation; absent-mindedness: absence of mind.

Origin of absence

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin absentia; see absent, -ia

Opposites for absence

Words Nearby absence

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use absence in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for absence


/ (ˈæbsəns) /

  1. the state of being away

  2. the time during which a person or thing is away

  1. the fact of being without something; lack

Origin of absence

C14: via Old French from Latin absentia, from absēns a being away

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with absence


In addition to the idiom beginning with absence

  • absence makes the heart grow fonder

also see:

  • conspicuous by its absence

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.