• synonyms


[ab-suh ns]
See more 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.
  3. failure to attend or appear when expected.
  4. lack; deficiency: the absence of proof.
  5. inattentiveness; preoccupation; absent-mindedness: absence of mind.
Show More

Origin of absence

1350–1400; Middle English < Middle French < Latin absentia. See absent, -ia


1. presence.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for absence

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Milza was the first to observe that her absence was unusually protracted.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • Then came that man, he filled her heart with illusions, and took her away in my absence.


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • Decidedly, Dick had been a godsend, and his absence would be a calamity.


    William J. Locke

  • I should never have comfort but in his absence, or when I was quarreling with him.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • "I want leave of absence to-day, sir," he said, speaking hurriedly.


    W. A. Fraser

British Dictionary definitions for absence


  1. the state of being away
  2. the time during which a person or thing is away
  3. the fact of being without something; lack
Show More

Word Origin

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

Word Origin and History for absence


late 14c., from Old French absence (14c.), from Latin absentia, noun of state from absentem (nominative absens), present participle of abesse "be away from, be absent," from ab- "away" (see ab-) + esse "to be" (see essence).

Absence makes the heart grow fonder
[Thomas Haynes Bayly (1797-1839) "Isle of Beauty"]
Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

absence in Medicine


  1. petit mal

Idioms and Phrases with absence