or ab·sent·mind·ed

[ ab-suhnt-mahyn-did ]

  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.

Origin of absent-minded

First recorded in 1850–55

synonym study For absent-minded

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.

Other words for absent-minded

Opposites for absent-minded

Other words from absent-minded

  • ab·sent-mind·ed·ly, adverb
  • ab·sent-mind·ed·ness, noun

Words Nearby absent-minded

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use absent-minded in a sentence

  • He looked for help to Madame Bill, who gazed at the smoke of her cheroot and seemed absent-minded.

    The Belted Seas | Arthur Colton
  • "Tommy Atkins" was the rage for the moment, and what may be called "absent-minded Beggarism" was rampant.

    The Relief of Mafeking | Filson Young
  • The hurry and anxiety, the stress of instant preparation and departure, had clean driven it from my absent-minded head.

    In Search of the Unknown | Robert W. Chambers
  • It struck Mademoiselle des Touches that the Consul looked rather too absent-minded for a perfectly happy man.

    Honorine | Honore de Balzac

British Dictionary definitions for absent-minded


  1. preoccupied; forgetful; inattentive

Derived forms of absent-minded

  • 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