ab·sent | \ˈab-sənt \

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


ab·sent | \ab-ˈsent, ˈab-ˌ\
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 \

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


absently adverb
He replied absently to her question.

Synonyms & Antonyms for absent

Synonyms: Adjective

absentminded, abstracted, distracted, preoccupied

Synonyms: Preposition

minus, sans, wanting, without

Antonyms: Adjective


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Choose the Right Synonym for absent


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


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.


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

Even so, the big story on Friday continues to be Rajoy’s whereabouts -- for now the man parliament is preparing to vote against remains absent. Esteban Duarte, Bloomberg.com, "Rajoy Concedes, Sanchez Will Become Prime Minister: Spain Update," 1 June 2018 Within three years, the butterfly population was gone and remained absent through 2012. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "How one man’s death led to the extinction of a butterfly population," 10 May 2018 Like wolves, grizzly bears in some parts of the U.S. have bounced back from widespread extermination, yet remain absent from most of their historical range. CBS News, "U.S. won’t restore grizzly bear protections near Yellowstone National Park," 28 Apr. 2018 Like wolves, grizzly bears in some parts of the U.S. have bounced back from widespread extermination, yet remain absent from most of their historical range. Washington Post, "US won’t restore Yellowstone grizzly bear protections," 27 Apr. 2018 And while he’s been largely absent from the tournament, Russian President Vladimir Putin will be in attendance at the final. Hayden Bird, BostonGlobe.com, "What to know about the World Cup title match," 14 July 2018 Board member Kelly Gonez, who gave birth to a boy last weekend, was absent for the vote. Anna M. Phillips, latimes.com, "LAUSD postpones effort to raise new parcel tax," 11 July 2018 Rumours of the full back's potential departure began after he was absent from Lazio’s pre-season training squad earlier this month. SI.com, "Leicester City Close to Completing Deal for Serie A Full Back After Seeing Off Rival Interest," 10 July 2018 Ultimately, however, with nothing in writing that would honor this commitment, all council members — minus Scott Benson, who was absent — voted in favor of the new district. Allie Gross, Detroit Free Press, "How new Detroit historic district impacts the Ilitch family," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Additionally, the lease agreement wasn’t on the agenda for the 2014 meeting when commissioners extended the lease, a meeting at which one commissioner – and the only one who is still on the board – was absent due to illness. Amy Lavalley, Post-Tribune, "Assessor: 'Multiple discrepancies' in Porter County tax exemption documents," 9 July 2018 Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were notably absent at the event. Maggie Maloney, Town & Country, "Kate Middleton Wore a White Alexander McQueen Dress to Prince Louis's Christening," 9 July 2018 Often, however, trans characters are absent from Hollywood movies altogether. Aric Jenkins, Fortune, "Scarlett Johansson's Casting as a Transgender Man Highlights an Industry-Wide Problem," 5 July 2018 But the collective impact of the three attacking players was absent in the scoreline. Sam Mcdowell, kansascity, "Montreal pitches shut out, ends Sporting KC's nine-game unbeaten streak," 30 June 2018 On Tuesday, the topic of guns was notably absent from the discussions. Mandy Mclaren, The Courier-Journal, "Gov. Matt Bevin blames school shootings on phones, psychotropic drugs," 26 June 2018 Lena Headey, who of course plays Cersei Lannister on the show, was notably absent from the big day. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Some of Kit Harington and Rose Leslie's Game of Thrones Co-Stars Didn't Make It to the Wedding," 24 June 2018 Just four New Orleans Saints players were absent from organized team activities on Thursday, the only of the three OTAs sessions open to the media this week. Josh Katzenstein, NOLA.com, "Cam Jordan among Saints limited in OTAs; Terron Armstead, Alex Anzalone full participants," 24 May 2018 And when the electorate absents itself, oppression will surely follow. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "Ethics first," 6 Apr. 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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined above


1944, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for absent


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


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


derivative of absent entry 1

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Phrases Related to absent

absent oneself

conspicuously absent

Statistics for absent

Last Updated

10 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for absent

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

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More Definitions for absent


ab·sent | \ˈab-sənt \

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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