[ ab-suh-loot, ab-suh-loot ]
See synonyms for: absoluteabsolutesabsoluteness on Thesaurus.com

  1. free from imperfection; complete; perfect: absolute liberty.

  2. not mixed or adulterated; pure: absolute alcohol.

  1. complete; downright: an absolute lie;an absolute denial;They made absolute fools of themselves at the party last night.

  2. free from restriction or limitation; not limited in any way: absolute command;absolute freedom.

  3. unrestrained or unlimited by a constitution, counterbalancing group, etc., in the exercise of governmental power, especially when arbitrary or despotic: an absolute monarch.

  4. viewed independently; not comparative or relative; intrinsic: absolute knowledge.

  5. positive; certain: absolute in opinion;absolute evidence.

  6. Grammar.

    • relatively independent syntactically: the construction It being Sunday in It being Sunday, the family went to church is an absolute construction.

    • (of a usually transitive verb) used without an object, as the verb give in The charity asked him to give.

    • (of an adjective) having its noun understood, not expressed, as rich in The rich get richer.

    • characterizing the phonological form of a word or phrase occurring by itself, not influenced by surrounding forms, as not in is not (as opposed to isn't), or will in they will (as opposed to they'll).: Compare sandhi.

  7. Physics.

    • independent of arbitrary standards or of particular properties of substances or systems: absolute humidity.

    • pertaining to a system of units, as the centimeter-gram-second system, based on some primary units, especially units of length, mass, and time.

    • pertaining to a measurement based on an absolute zero or unit: absolute temperature.

  8. Education. noting or pertaining to the scale of a grading system based on an individual's performance considered as representing their knowledge of a given subject regardless of the performance of others in a group: The math department grades on an absolute scale.: Compare curve (def. 10).

  9. Climatology. noting or pertaining to the highest or lowest value of a meteorological quantity recorded during a given, usually long, period of time: absolute maximum temperature.

  10. Mathematics. (of an inequality) indicating that the expression is true for all values of the variable, as x2 + 1 > 0 for all real numbers x;unconditional; : Compare conditional (def. 4).

  11. Computers. machine-specific and requiring no translation (opposed to symbolic): absolute coding;absolute address.

  1. something that is not dependent upon external conditions for existence or for its specific nature, size, etc. (opposed to relative).

  2. the absolute,

    • something that is free from any restriction or condition.

    • something that is independent of some or all relations.

    • something that is perfect or complete.

    • (in Hegelianism) the world process operating in accordance with the absolute idea.

Origin of absolute

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English, from Latin absolūtus “free, unrestricted, unconditioned” (past participle of absolvere “to absolve”), equivalent to ab- ab- + solū- “loosen” + -tus past participle suffix

synonym study For absolute

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.

Other words for absolute

Opposites for absolute

Other words from absolute

  • ab·so·lute·ness, noun
  • non·ab·so·lute, adjective, noun
  • non·ab·so·lute·ly, adverb
  • non·ab·so·lute·ness, noun
  • qua·si-ab·so·lute, adjective
  • qua·si-ab·so·lute·ly, adverb
  • sub·ab·so·lute, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use absolute in a sentence

  • By the time that Walter was ready to go home, Emily had fixed with feminine absoluteness her opinion about Harry's innocence.

    The Incendiary | W. A. (William Augustine) Leahy
  • On the other hand, he is warned not to aim at absoluteness, which of all people the Scots will least endure.

    Montrose | Mowbray Morris
  • The same absoluteness which was once attributed to abstractions is now attached to the words which are the signs of them.

    Euthydemus | Plato
  • The absoluteness of man as a force, is no less certain because he is finite and not omnipotent.

  • And even then the tonnage was held to essentials; essentials whose absoluteness was almost a matter of affidavit.

    With the Doughboy in France | Edward Hungerford

British Dictionary definitions for absolute (1 of 2)


/ (ˈæbsəˌluːt) /

  1. complete; perfect

  2. free from limitations, restrictions, or exceptions; unqualified: an absolute choice

  1. having unlimited authority; despotic: an absolute ruler

  2. undoubted; certain: the absolute truth

  3. not dependent on, conditioned by, or relative to anything else; independent: an absolute term in logic; the absolute value of a quantity in physics

  4. pure; unmixed: absolute alcohol

  5. (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

  6. 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

  7. grammar (of an adjective) used as a noun, as for instance young and aged in the sentence The young care little for the aged

  8. physics

    • (postpositive) (of a pressure measurement) not relative to atmospheric pressure: the pressure was 5 bar absolute Compare gauge (def. 18)

    • denoting absolute or thermodynamic temperature

  9. maths

    • (of a constant) never changing in value

    • Also: numerical (of an inequality) unconditional

    • (of a term) not containing a variable

  10. law (of a court order or decree) coming into effect immediately and not liable to be modified; final: See decree absolute

  11. law (of a title to property, etc) not subject to any encumbrance or condition

  1. something that is absolute

Origin of absolute

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

British Dictionary definitions for Absolute (2 of 2)


/ (ˈæbsəˌluːt) /

noun(sometimes not capital)
  1. philosophy

    • the ultimate basis of reality

    • that which is totally unconditioned, unrestricted, pure, perfect, or complete

  2. (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