absent

adjective
ab·​sent | \ ˈab-sənt How to pronounce absent (audio) \

Definition of absent

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : not present at a usual or expected place : missing was absent from class today sharing memories of absent friends She was conspicously absent [=her absence was very noticeable] at the meeting.
2 : not existing : lacking … danger in a situation where power is absent— M. H. Trytten a gene that occurs in mammals but is absent in birds
3 : showing a lack of attention to what is happening or being said : not attentive had an absent look on her face an absent reply

absent

verb
ab·​sent | \ ab-ˈsent How to pronounce absent (audio) , ˈab-ˌ\
absented; absenting; absents

Definition of absent (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

: to keep (oneself) away He absented himself from the meeting.

absent

preposition
ab·​sent | \ ˈab-sənt How to pronounce absent (audio) \

Definition of absent (Entry 3 of 3)

US, formal
: in the absence of (something) : without Absent any objections, the plan will proceed.

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from absent

Adjective

absently adverb
He replied absently to her question.

Synonyms & Antonyms for absent

Synonyms: Adjective

away, missing, out

Synonyms: Preposition

minus, sans, wanting, without

Antonyms: Adjective

here, in, present

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for absent

Adjective

abstracted, preoccupied, absent, absentminded, distracted mean inattentive to what claims or demands consideration. abstracted implies absorption of the mind in something other than one's surroundings, and often suggests reflection on weighty matters. walking about with an abstracted air preoccupied often implies having one's attention so taken up by thoughts as to neglect others. too preoccupied with her debts to enjoy the meal absent stresses inability to fix the mind on present concerns due more to mental wandering than to concentration on other matters. an absent stare absentminded implies that the mind is fixed elsewhere and often refers to a habit of abstractedness. so absentminded, he's been known to wear mismatched shoes distracted may suggest an inability to concentrate caused by worry, sorrow, or anxiety. was too distracted by grief to continue working

Examples of absent in a Sentence

Adjective

an absent father who is not home most of the time a gene that occurs in mammals but that is absent in birds a landscape in which vegetation is almost entirely absent He made an absent reply to her question as he continued to watch the TV.

Preposition

Absent any objections, the plan will proceed. Absent such an agreement we can go no further.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Readers rant and rave about U.S. Postal service on snow days RANT To the U.S. Postal Service for being absent from my neighborhood for a few days during the bad weather. Seattle Times Readers, The Seattle Times, "Rant & Rave: Mail service in snowy weather," 12 Feb. 2019 Nearly one in five Maryland students — 18.3 percent — was chronically absent last year, the data show. Jess Nocera, Howard County Times, "Howard school absentee rate is lowest in Maryland," 22 June 2018 Homeless students are chronically absent at far higher rates than other children, are more likely to drop out than their peers and less likely to graduate or to test on grade level. Elizabeth A. Harris And Kate Taylor, New York Times, "Welcome to New York, and Here’s a To-Do List," 2 Apr. 2018 According to the new Alabama school report card, more than 17 percent of students were chronically absent during the 2016-2017 school year. Trisha Powell Crain, AL.com, "Alabama Gov. Ivey aims for reading proficiency in all third-graders by 2022," 3 Feb. 2018 Some lost interest in school and became chronically absent; others were pushed out or held back for behavioral reasons. The Hechinger Report, NOLA.com, "About 40 percent of New Orleans high school students are held back at least 1 grade," 8 Jan. 2018 One item that is absent from his agenda unveiled Thursday in Tampa — guns. Skyler Swisher, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Adam Putnam's new public safety plan vows tough sentencing laws, avoids gun issue," 7 June 2018 Ten observations from the day: ▪ Panthers guard Trai Turner was absent, so backup Amini Silatolu took several snaps at right guard in team drills. Jourdan Rodrigue, charlotteobserver, "Dropping bombs, stretching for catches, more: 10 observations from Panthers OTAs," 29 May 2018 There is something about the novel and Weir’s film that feels impenetrable—outside of time rather than of it—and this fogginess is absent in the remake, which has been polished to a mirrored sheen. Rachel Syme, The New Republic, "Picnic at Hanging Rock," 22 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The number of these weapons in the American public’s hands is unknown, because the ATF cannot track them absent a serial number. Ben Kesling, WSJ, "Coast Guard Officer Accused of Planning Terror Attack Amassed an Arsenal," 21 Feb. 2019 Both found that employees who had tested positive before employment were absent more frequently and were more likely to be fired than those who tested negative. Mark A.r. Kleiman, Vox, "Is it time to do away with job applicant drug testing?," 27 July 2018 Meeting records show that Lori Flores Weisskopf, a commissioner since 2011, has been absent from 10 of 14 park board meetings since January and 17 of the 29 meetings that have taken place in the 12 months since last July. Karen Berkowitz, chicagotribune.com, "Park District of Highland Park commissioner missed 70 percent of meetings so far this year," 6 July 2018 Holler on the Hill: New music festival will bring indie, Americana acts to Garfield Park The commemorative marker, originally installed on June 26, 2002, has been absent in recent years because of construction north and south of Market Street. David Lindquist, Indianapolis Star, "Elvis Presley plaque is coming back to Indianapolis on 41st anniversary of final concert," 22 June 2018 Since the Stormy Daniels stories began, Melania has been noticeably absent from her husband’s side. James Pindell, BostonGlobe.com, "Four theories as to what Melania Trump was thinking wearing that jacket to the border," 21 June 2018 This Clear History feature is a standard tool in popular web browsers, but has been noticeably absent in Facebook prior to its wave of data privacy scandals. Jonathan Vanian, Fortune, "Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Won't Let Controversies Crush Optimism," 1 May 2018 For starters, there’s a deep feeling of community that’s often absent in other cities. George Varga, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Why I love San Diego's rich and diverse music scene, past and present," 7 Jan. 2018 Karlie Kloss and Joshua Kushner tied the knot in upstate New York on Thursday (October 18), and one person noticeably absent from nuptials was Taylor Swift, Kloss' longtime bestie. Dan Barna, Glamour, "This Is Probably Why Taylor Swift Wasn't at Karlie Kloss' Wedding," 19 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Preposition

Under no circumstances should Brett Kavanaugh be confirmed absent a full and complete investigation. Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Fox News, "Kavanaugh confirmation derailed by sexual misconduct allegations: A list of his accusers," 27 Sep. 2018 Under no circumstances should Brett Kavanaugh be confirmed absent a full and complete investigation. Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Fox News, "Kavanaugh confirmation derailed by sexual misconduct allegations: A list of his accusers," 27 Sep. 2018 Under no circumstances should Brett Kavanaugh be confirmed absent a full and complete investigation. Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Fox News, "Kavanaugh confirmation derailed by sexual misconduct allegations: A list of his accusers," 27 Sep. 2018 Under no circumstances should Brett Kavanaugh be confirmed absent a full and complete investigation. Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Fox News, "Kavanaugh confirmation derailed by sexual misconduct allegations: A list of his accusers," 27 Sep. 2018 Under no circumstances should Brett Kavanaugh be confirmed absent a full and complete investigation. Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Fox News, "Kavanaugh confirmation derailed by sexual misconduct allegations: A list of his accusers," 27 Sep. 2018 Under no circumstances should Brett Kavanaugh be confirmed absent a full and complete investigation. Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Fox News, "Kavanaugh confirmation derailed by sexual misconduct allegations: A list of his accusers," 27 Sep. 2018 Under no circumstances should Brett Kavanaugh be confirmed absent a full and complete investigation. Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Fox News, "Kavanaugh confirmation derailed by sexual misconduct allegations: A list of his accusers," 27 Sep. 2018 Under no circumstances should Brett Kavanaugh be confirmed absent a full and complete investigation. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "Christine Blasey Ford's Testimony—Here's Everything You Should Know," 26 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'absent.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of absent

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Preposition

1944, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for absent

Adjective

Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin absent-, absens, present participle of abesse "to be away, be absent," from ab- ab- + -sens, present participle (attested only with prefixes) of esse "to be" — more at is entry 1

Verb

Middle English absenten, borrowed from Anglo-French absenter, borrowed from Late Latin absentāre, verbal derivative of Latin absent-, absens absent entry 1

Preposition

derivative of absent entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about absent

Statistics for absent

Last Updated

9 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for absent

The first known use of absent was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for absent

absent

adjective
ab·​sent | \ ˈab-sənt How to pronounce absent (audio) \

Kids Definition of absent

1 : not present I missed a field trip when I was absent.
2 : not existing Trees were absent from the desert landscape.
3 : showing a lack of attention an absent stare

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on absent

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with absent

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for absent

Spanish Central: Translation of absent

Nglish: Translation of absent for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of absent for Arabic Speakers

Comments on absent

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

WORD OF THE DAY

a sum of money that is sent as a payment

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!