• synonyms


or ab·sent·mind·ed

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  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


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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.


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

Related Words


Examples from the Web for absent-minded

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • I thought of all the absent-minded things he might do, but I never thought of this, no, I never!

  • “Of course,” repeated the great man, with a sort of absent-minded loftiness.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

  • Winnie maintained that he was much less “absent-minded” now.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

  • "I will think about it," replied my mother in an absent-minded way.

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

  • His face was downcast and he put the dishes on the table in an absent-minded way.

British Dictionary definitions for absent-minded


  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