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 conspicuously 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-ˌsent \
absented; absenting; absents

Definition of absent (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

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

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Other Words from absent

Adjective

absently adverb
He replied absently to her question.

Synonyms & Antonyms for absent

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Preposition

Antonyms: Adjective

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Trump was all but absent from the pandemic relief talks, to congressional Republicans’ frustration. Jennifer Haberkorn, Los Angeles Times, "Relief and government funding in doubt as Trump delays signing of bill," 26 Dec. 2020 College basketball teams are accustomed to being busy through the holidays, often absent for family gatherings on Thanksgiving in particular. Dave Campbell, Chron, "Isolation play: College teams fend off holiday loneliness," 24 Dec. 2020 The album that follows seems to exist outside of any one musical moment for the band, absent any particularly defining features besides being noticeably louder. Andrew Unterberger, Billboard, "The 25 Best Rock Albums of 2020: Staff Picks," 15 Dec. 2020 Henry, absent at the time, beholds the scene and is lost forever. Jack Butler, National Review, "Back to the Future Meets Hillbilly Elegy," 5 Dec. 2020 There were 130 representatives absent, including Rep. Renny Cushing, D-Hampton, the new House minority leader. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Conspiracy theories, overtime abuse, digital divide: News from around our 50 states," 4 Dec. 2020 Notably absent from the options roster: remote start. Maxwell B. Mortimer, Car and Driver, "Tested: 2020 Ford Transit 350 Continues to Outpace Its Rivals," 4 Dec. 2020 The sources, from inside and outside the office, say Harper was often like a phantom, frequently absent and rarely engaged in the work. Jessica Williams, NOLA.com, "A look at New Orleans Inspector General Derry Harper's tenure: Challenges, productivity issues," 30 Oct. 2020 Teams do not always explain why players are absent, or even differentiate between illness and injury. Nathan Baird, cleveland, "With Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz’s positive rapid test for COVID-19, Big Ten plan faces early scrutiny," 25 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Many companies have sought to reduce bird deaths in recent decades by working in cooperation with wildlife officials, but the incentive to participate in such efforts drops absent the threat of criminal liability. Matthew Brown, ajc, "Trump administration scales back wild bird protections," 5 Jan. 2021 Just as shiny as the rings were the promises to absent Lakers fans. Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times, "Column: Lakers look like champs for a moment, then just look tired and tight on opening night," 22 Dec. 2020 The coronavirus has an incubation period of up to 14 days, so a negative test, absent a two-week quarantine, is no guarantee that a person can safely see people outside of their household without spreading the illness. oregonlive, "Oregon universities offer free testing for students ahead of Thanksgiving holiday," 17 Nov. 2020 This debate helps Trump, but in any debate, absent a major gaffe, the one leading going is in is usually the one leading going out. Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press, "Could final Trump-Biden debate change the election outcome? Our panel weighs in," 23 Oct. 2020 With fans absent the game didn’t feel big time, but the stadium did. Tom Krasovic, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Kroenke Dome impresses as Rams open $5-billion stadium with victory over Cowboys," 13 Sep. 2020 The sale was announced together with last month’s normalization agreement between Israel and the UAE — a breakthrough because for years it was thought impossible to forge a deal with a Gulf Arab state absent a peace deal with the Palestinians. sun-sentinel.com, "Trump nominated for Nobel Peace Prize for brokering Israel-UAE agreement," 9 Sep. 2020 The triple-digit temperatures coincide with Labor Day weekend, which is typically one of the busiest beach days of the summer even absent a record-breaking heat wave. Alex Wigglesworth, Los Angeles Times, "Southern California heat wave could break all-time records, raising fears of effects," 5 Sep. 2020 Arab nations have historically refused to establish formal ties with Israel absent a resolution to its conflict with the Palestinians. Felicia Schwartz, WSJ, "Pompeo Urges Arab States to Follow U.A.E. in Striking Deals With Israel," 24 Aug. 2020 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. Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Fox News, "Kavanaugh confirmation derailed by sexual misconduct allegations: A list of his accusers," 27 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.

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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

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Time Traveler for absent

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for absent

Last Updated

15 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Absent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/absent. Accessed 23 Jan. 2021.

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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

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Comments on absent

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