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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


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

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February 13, 2016

a trying or distressing experience

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