or awol, A.W.O.L., a.w.o.l.

[ pronounced as initials or ey-wawl, ey-wol ]
/ pronounced as initials or ˈeɪ wɔl, ˈeɪ wɒl /

adjective, adverb

away from military duties without permission, but without the intention of deserting.


a soldier or other military person who is absent from duty without leave.


    go AWOL,
    1. to depart from military duty without leave.
    2. to absent oneself without explanation.

Origin of AWOL

1915–20; A(bsent) W(ith)o(ut) L(eave) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for awol

British Dictionary definitions for awol



/ (ˈeɪwɒl) /


military absent without leave; absent from one's post or duty without official permission but without intending to desert
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 awol



also a.w.o.l., military initialism for absent without leave. The -o- seems to be there mostly so the initialism can be pronounced as a word. In U.S. military use at least from World War II, popular use by 1960.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with awol


see absent without leave.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.