Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

absorb

play
verb ab·sorb \əb-ˈsȯrb, -ˈzȯrb\

Simple Definition of absorb

  • : to take in (something, such as a liquid) in a natural or gradual way

  • : to draw in (heat, light, energy, etc.)

  • : to learn (something)

Full Definition of absorb

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to take in and make part of an existent whole <the capacity of China to absorb invaders>

  3. 2 a :  to suck up or take up <a sponge absorbs water> <charcoal absorbs gas> <plant roots absorb water> b :  to take in :  acquire, learn <convictions absorbed in youth — M. R. Cohen> c :  use up, consume <the fever absorbed her strength>

  4. 3 :  to engage or engross wholly <absorbed in thought>

  5. 4 a (1) :  to receive without recoil or echo <provided with a sound-absorbing surface> (2) :  endure, sustain <absorbing hardships> (3) :  assume, bear <the expenses were absorbed by the company> b :  to transform (radiant energy) into a different form especially with a resulting rise in temperature <the earth absorbs the sun's rays>

ab·sorb·abil·i·typlay \əb-ˌsȯr-bə-ˈbi-lə-tē, -ˌzȯr-\ noun
ab·sorb·ableplay \əb-ˈsȯr-bə-bəl, -ˈzȯr-\ adjective
ab·sorb·er noun

Examples of absorb

  1. a fabric that absorbs sweat

  2. The walls are made of a material that absorbs sound.

  3. absorbing heat from the sun

  4. She is good at absorbing information.

  5. He has retained the values that he absorbed as a young man.

  6. a country that has absorbed many immigrants

  7. smaller countries invaded and absorbed by bigger ones

  8. His interest in photography absorbs him completely.

  9. I was so absorbed by her story that I lost track of time.



Origin of absorb

Anglo-French asorbir to swallow up, from Latin absorbēre, from ab- + sorbēre to suck up; akin to Lithuanian surbti to sip, Greek rophein to gulp down


First Known Use: 15th century

Other Chemical Engineering Terms

Rhymes with absorb


Medical Dictionary

absorb

play play
transitive verb ab·sorb \əb-ˈsȯ(ə)rb, -ˈzȯ(ə)rb\

Medical Definition of absorb

  1. 1:  to take up especially by capillary, osmotic, solvent, or chemical action <surgical sutures which can be absorbed by the body> <the blood in the lungs absorbs oxygen>

  2. 2:  to transform (radiant energy) into a different form usually with a resulting rise in temperature <chlorophyll reflects green light and absorbs the other colors of light>

  3. ab·sorb·able \əb-ˈsȯr-bə-bəl, -ˈzȯr-\play play adjective
    ab·sorb·er noun





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up absorb? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

February 7, 2016

a slight offense

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image1037863653

Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?

duvet spindrift kittly-benders pince-nez
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ