or ab·sent·mind·ed

  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
Related formsab·sent-mind·ed·ly, adverbab·sent-mind·ed·ness, noun

Synonyms for absent-minded

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.

Antonyms for absent-minded

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

Examples from the Web for absent-mindedly

Contemporary Examples of absent-mindedly

Historical Examples of absent-mindedly

  • She was listening to him absent-mindedly and looking about her, her fan laid to her lips.

    A Hero of Our Time

    M. Y. Lermontov

  • "Oh, she has declared her intention," murmured Lingard, absent-mindedly.

    The Rescue

    Joseph Conrad

  • Absent-mindedly he tried a pinch of the snuff, inhaling it into his nostrils.

    The Ivory Snuff Box

    Arnold Fredericks

  • Janet had dropped it absent-mindedly in her lap; she now took it up again.

    The Wrong Woman

    Charles D. Stewart

  • He had absent-mindedly strayed into the wrong continent and the wrong creed.

    A Miscellany of Men

    G. K. Chesterton

British Dictionary definitions for absent-mindedly


  1. preoccupied; forgetful; inattentive
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