[ab-suh-loot, ab-suh-loot]



something that is not dependent upon external conditions for existence or for its specific nature, size, etc. (opposed to relative).
the absolute,
  1. something that is free from any restriction or condition.
  2. something that is independent of some or all relations.
  3. something that is perfect or complete.
  4. (in Hegelianism) the world process operating in accordance with the absolute idea.

Origin of absolute

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin absolūtus free, unrestricted, unconditioned (past participle of absolvere to absolve), equivalent to ab- ab- + solū- loosen + -tus past participle suffix
Related formsab·so·lute·ness, nounnon·ab·so·lute, adjective, nounnon·ab·so·lute·ly, adverbnon·ab·so·lute·ness, nounqua·si-ab·so·lute, adjectivequa·si-ab·so·lute·ly, adverbsub·ab·so·lute, adjective

Synonyms for absolute

Synonym study

4. Absolute, unqualified, utter all mean unmodified. Absolute implies an unquestionable finality: an absolute coward. Unqualified means without reservations or conditions: an unqualified success. Utter expresses totality or entirety: an utter failure.

Antonyms for absolute

1. imperfect, flawed. 2. mixed, diluted, contaminated. 4. qualified. 6. relative.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for absolute

Contemporary Examples of absolute

Historical Examples of absolute

  • Absolute directness was a part of her nature; she could die, but not manouvre.


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • It is there, not only with its help, but with its absolute knowledge of the right way for me to act.

  • What if their necessity of simulating it comes of its absolute necessity!

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • Though the right to live is absolute, it is not unconditional.

  • There is no good art, any more than there is good anything else in the absolute sense.

British Dictionary definitions for absolute



complete; perfect
free from limitations, restrictions, or exceptions; unqualifiedan absolute choice
having unlimited authority; despotican absolute ruler
undoubted; certainthe absolute truth
not dependent on, conditioned by, or relative to anything else; independentan absolute term in logic; the absolute value of a quantity in physics
pure; unmixedabsolute alcohol
(of a grammatical construction) syntactically independent of the main clause, as for example the construction Joking apart in the sentence Joking apart, we'd better leave now
grammar (of a transitive verb) used without a direct object, as the verb intimidate in the sentence His intentions are good, but his rough manner tends to intimidate
grammar (of an adjective) used as a noun, as for instance young and aged in the sentence The young care little for the aged
  1. (postpositive)(of a pressure measurement) not relative to atmospheric pressurethe pressure was 5 bar absolute Compare gauge (def. 18)
  2. denoting absolute or thermodynamic temperature
  1. (of a constant) never changing in value
  2. Also: numerical(of an inequality) unconditional
  3. (of a term) not containing a variable
law (of a court order or decree) coming into effect immediately and not liable to be modified; finalSee decree absolute
law (of a title to property, etc) not subject to any encumbrance or condition


something that is absolute

Word Origin for absolute

C14: from Latin absolūtus unconditional, freed from, from absolvere. See absolve


noun (sometimes not capital)

  1. the ultimate basis of reality
  2. that which is totally unconditioned, unrestricted, pure, perfect, or complete
(in the philosophy of Hegel) that towards which all things evolve dialectically
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 absolute

late 14c., "unrestricted; complete, perfect;" also "not relative to something else" (mid-15c.), from Middle French absolut (14c., Old French asolu, Modern French absolu), from Latin absolutus, past participle of absolvere "to set free, make separate" (see absolve).

Most of the current senses also were in the Latin word. Sense evolution was "detached, disengaged," thus "perfect, pure." Meaning "despotic" (1610s) is from notion of "absolute in position." Absolute monarchy is recorded from 1735 (absolute king is recorded from 1610s); scientific absolute magnitude (1902), absolute value (1907) are from early 20c. In metaphysics, the absolute "that which is absolute" is from 1809.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper