[ab-sawrp-shuh n, -zawrp-]
See more synonyms for absorption on Thesaurus.com
  1. the act of absorbing.
  2. the state or process of being absorbed.
  3. assimilation; incorporation: the absorption of small farms into one big one.
  4. uptake of substances by a tissue, as of nutrients through the wall of the intestine.
  5. a taking in or reception by molecular or chemical action, as of gases or liquids.
  6. Physics. the removal of energy or particles from a beam by the medium through which the beam propagates.
  7. complete attention or preoccupation; deep engrossment: absorption in one's work.

Origin of absorption

1590–1600; < Latin absorptiōn- (stem of absorptiō), equivalent to absorpt(us), past participle of absorbēre to absorb + -iōn- -ion
Related formshy·per·ab·sorp·tion, nounin·ter·ab·sorp·tion, nounnon·ab·sorp·tion, nouno·ver·ab·sorp·tion, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for absorption

Contemporary Examples of absorption

Historical Examples of absorption

  • He wondered whether he would always be in this state of absorption.

    The Foolish Lovers

    St. John G. Ervine

  • Yet not so much a slave to it, she distinguished, as to Martin's absorption in its development.


    Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius

  • There was not a trace of sentimental expression to this absorption.

  • Here the first step is absorption and expansion, not precipitation.

  • Through the absorption of other lines it reached an extent of over 7,000 miles.

    The Railroad Question

    William Larrabee

British Dictionary definitions for absorption


  1. the process of absorbing or the state of being absorbed
  2. physiol
    1. normal assimilation by the tissues of the products of digestion
    2. the passage of a gas, fluid, drug, etc, through the mucous membranes or skin
  3. physics a reduction of the intensity of any form of radiated energy as a result of energy conversion in a medium, such as the conversion of sound energy into heat
  4. immunol the process of removing superfluous antibodies or antigens from a mixture using a reagent
Derived Formsabsorptive, adjective

Word Origin for absorption

C16: from Latin absorptiōn-, from absorbēre to absorb
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 absorption

1590s, from Latin absorptionem (nominative absorptio), noun of action from past participle stem of absorbere (see absorb).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

absorption in Medicine


  1. The taking in or incorporation of something, such as a gas, a liquid, light, or heat.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

absorption in Science


  1. Biology The movement of a substance, such as a liquid or solute, across a cell membrane by means of diffusion or osmosis.
  2. Chemistry The process by which one substance, such as a solid or liquid, takes up another substance, such as a liquid or gas, through minute pores or spaces between its molecules. A paper towel takes up water, and water takes up carbon dioxide, by absorption. Compare adsorption.
  3. Physics The taking up and storing of energy, such as radiation, light, or sound, without it being reflected or transmitted. During absorption, the energy may change from one form into another. When radiation strikes the electrons in an atom, the electrons move to a higher orbit or state of excitement by absorption of the radiation's energy.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.