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

Fellow members of the cast, like Kyle Richards and Dorit Kemsley, have been posting on Instagram from a trip in Europe...and Vanderpump is noticeably absent. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Is Lisa Vanderpump Actually Leaving Real Housewives of Beverly Hills?," 14 Nov. 2018 Image: Sony When Sony first revealed its miniature PlayStation Classic, one thing was conspicuously absent: the full list of games. Andrew Webster, The Verge, "Sony details all 20 PlayStation Classic games, including GTA, Resident Evil, and Metal Gear Solid," 29 Oct. 2018 As Judge’s name started getting thrown around throughout the course of Kavanaugh’s hearing, Ford’s testimony, and the influx of stories mentioning the pair, the man was notably absent. Emily Bloch, Teen Vogue, "Who Is Mark Judge, Brett Kavanaugh's High School Drinking Buddy?," 2 Oct. 2018 On Monday, Napoli listed all of the players who will be in the squad for pre-season training via their official Twitter account, and the 26-year-old's name was notably absent. SI.com, "Man City Target Jorginho a Notable Absentee as Napoli Announce Squad List for Preseason Training," 2 July 2018 But on Wednesday, the committee heard the bills separately, and Sen. de León was noticeably absent. Trisha Thadani, SFChronicle.com, "California net neutrality bill ‘eviscerated’ in Assembly committee meeting," 20 June 2018 Kim Kardashian West and Kris Jenner had a girls night out at the MTV Movie & TV Awards this weekend while another member of the famous family was noticeably absent. Mike Miller, PEOPLE.com, "Kim Kardashian and Kris Jenner Have a Girls Night Out at MTV Movie & TV Awards as Kylie Bails," 16 June 2018 The results confirmed what Woodhull suspected: Nurses were largely absent in media coverage of health issues. Carole R. Myers, STAT, "Nurses play vital roles in health care. Why are they invisible in the media?," 13 June 2018 In this country, unprovoked attacks by alligators and especially deaths by alligator attack are almost wholly absent outside of Florida. Shannon Tompkins, Houston Chronicle, "Wildlife is wild, so admire from afar," 13 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But earlier this year, when activists pressured the Senate to restore the FCC protections, many of the larger sites were absent from the public debate. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Dueling employee petitions have revealed a deep divide within Google over China," 29 Nov. 2018 However, one of the group's former bandmates was noticeably absent from the video. Jennifer Lance, Glamour, "The Spice Girls Reunion Tour Is Definitely Happening—Without Victoria Beckham," 5 Nov. 2018 However, George and Amal were noticeably absent from the second royal wedding of 2018, which was attended by celebs including Demi Moore, Liv Tyler, Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why George and Amal Clooney Didn't Attend Princess Eugenie's Royal Wedding," 12 Oct. 2018 One senator, Republican Steve Daines of Montana, was absent due to his daughter’s wedding. Natalie Andrews, WSJ, "Senate Votes to Confirm Kavanaugh to Supreme Court," 6 Oct. 2018 Getty ImagesKevin Mazur Amongst the celebrity guests who showed up for the red carpet earlier this week, Ariana Grande and fiancé Pete Davidson were notably absent from the Emmys 2018 ceremony, despite a scheduled appearance. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Ariana Grande Appeared In Public After Skipping the Emmys to "Heal and Mend" Following Mac Miller's Death," 19 Sep. 2018 The free attention that might have come from the press was absent as well, landing instead on the famous activist candidates, Bella Abzug and Allard Lowenstein, who were also running for Congress in New York that year. Ginia Bellafante, New York Times, "Before Ocasio-Cortez, the Elizabeth Holtzman Effect," 5 July 2018 But one previous attendee is noticeably absent from this year’s war games: China. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "China's Not Coming to America's Big Pacific War Games This Time," 28 June 2018 The council voted 4 to 0, with Councilwoman Amanda Rigby absent, to approve placing those measures on the ballot. Deborah Sullivan Brennan, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Vista approves city-sponsored pot measures for November ballot," 14 June 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. 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.

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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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Statistics for absent

Last Updated

5 Dec 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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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

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to enclose within walls

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