[adjective, preposition ab-suhnt; verb ab-sent, ab-suhnt]


not in a certain place at a given time; away, missing (opposed to present): absent from class.
lacking; nonexistent: Revenge is absent from his mind.
not attentive; preoccupied; absent-minded: an absent look on his face.

verb (used with object)

to take or keep (oneself) away: to absent oneself from a meeting.


in the absence of; without: Absent some catastrophe, stock-market prices should soon improve.

Origin of absent

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin absent- (stem of absēns, present participle of abesse to be away (ab- ab- + -s- be (see is) + -ent- -ent))
Related formsab·sen·ta·tion [ab-suhn-tey-shuhn] /ˌæb sənˈteɪ ʃən/, nounab·sent·er, nounab·sent·ness, nounnon·ab·sen·ta·tion, noun

Synonyms for absent

1. out, off.

Antonyms for absent

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for absenting

Contemporary Examples of absenting

  • Others are absenting themselves as part of an apparent protest.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Right Invades Washington

    Samuel P. Jacobs, Shushannah Walshe

    February 8, 2011

Historical Examples of absenting

  • It is noteworthy that he was never fined for absenting himself as others were.

    Shakespeare's Family

    Mrs. C. C. Stopes

  • Or has she another motive for absenting herself so frequently from her home?

  • I remember once absenting myself from civilization for weary months.

  • Yet I suppose he was in the habit of absenting himself from home?

    The Leavenworth Case

    Anna Katherine Green

  • You are going to desolate us, Jacintito, by absenting yourself?

    The Wolf Cub

    Patrick Casey

British Dictionary definitions for absenting


adjective (ˈæbsənt)

away or not present
lacking; missing
inattentive; absent-minded

verb (æbˈsɛnt)

(tr) to remove (oneself) or keep away
Derived Formsabsenter, noun

Word Origin for absent

C14: from Latin absent-, stem of absēns, present participle of abesse to be 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 absenting



"to keep away" (from), c.1400, from Middle French absenter, from Late Latin absentare "cause to be away," from Latin absentem (see absent (adj.)). Related: Absented; absenting.



"in the absence of," 1944, principally from U.S. legal use, from absent (v.).



late 14c., from Middle French absent (Old French ausent), from Latin absentem (nominative absens), present participle of abesse "be away from, be absent" (see absence). Related: Absently; absentness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper