• synonyms


[adjective, preposition ab-suhnt; verb ab-sent, ab-suhnt]
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  1. not in a certain place at a given time; away, missing (opposed to present): absent from class.
  2. lacking; nonexistent: Revenge is absent from his mind.
  3. not attentive; preoccupied; absent-minded: an absent look on his face.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to take or keep (oneself) away: to absent oneself from a meeting.
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  1. in the absence of; without: Absent some catastrophe, stock-market prices should soon improve.
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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


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1. out, off.


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

Related Words


Examples from the Web for absents

Historical Examples

  • How I grieve at whatever may be the cause which absents him from his family!

    The Diary and Letters of Madame D'Arblay, Vol. 1 (of 3)

    Fanny Burney

  • Any scholar who absents himself at other times, even by leave, or breaks his leave, shall lose the time.

  • He absents himself more and more from Beethovens lodgings and spends less and less time at his own.

  • O woman, best are all things as the will of God ordains them; therefore go; for thy stay, not free, absents thee more.

  • The passenger who absents himself from the concert which all other passengers attend, is both impolite and ill-bred.

    Book of Etiquette, Volume 2

    Lillian Eichler Watson

British Dictionary definitions for absents


adjective (ˈæbsənt)
  1. away or not present
  2. lacking; missing
  3. inattentive; absent-minded
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verb (æbˈsɛnt)
  1. (tr) to remove (oneself) or keep away
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Derived Formsabsenter, noun

Word Origin

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 absents



"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.

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

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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper