ab·​sen·​tee | \ ˌab-sən-ˈtē How to pronounce absentee (audio) \

Definition of absentee

: one that is absent: such as
a : a proprietor that lives away from his or her estate or business
b : one missing from work or school

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from absentee

absentee adjective

Examples of absentee in a Sentence

There were 10 sick absentees that day.
Recent Examples on the Web Gretchen Reinemayer, Arlington’s director of elections, said almost 3,600 people voted absentee in person and 3,500 ballots arrived by mail. Washington Post, "Arlington Democratic incumbents Cristol, Dorsey return to County Board," 6 Nov. 2019 An additional 1,053 had voted absentee by mail at that point. Holly V. Hays, Indianapolis Star, "Marion, Hamilton County in-person early voting is high for a municipal election year," 5 Nov. 2019 Federal law guarantees them the right to vote absentee, but 19 states do not allow for electronic submission of ballots. Abigail Abrams, Time, "'Trump Is Having His Own Brexit': The Race to Prepare for a Potential U.S. Exit From the World's Mail System," 19 Sep. 2019 The mayor of a St. Louis suburb was charged Thursday with submitting a handful of fraudulent absentee voter applications in an attempt to influence an April 2018 local election. Fox News, "St. Louis-area mayor charged in election fraud case," 22 Nov. 2019 Truffle associations also strike agreements with absentee landowners to keep their wooded property cleared in a way that promotes truffle growth. BostonGlobe.com, "HP rejects Xerox proposal, but open to discussing transaction," 18 Nov. 2019 In Westland, 67% of the 8,638 voters who cast ballots chose the absentee route. Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press, "Clerks facing challenges with absentee voting skyrocketing in Michigan elections," 15 Nov. 2019 Endle was up by two votes after polls closed Nov. 5 with hundreds of outstanding questioned and absentee or special needs ballots still to be counted. Zaz Hollander, Anchorage Daily News, "Final Mat-Su assembly vote count puts contender ahead of Dunleavy-sponsored candidate," 13 Nov. 2019 That has led to complaints about absentee owners turning apartment buildings into de facto hotels and having a negative effect on affordable housing. NBC News, "Voters decide on sanctuary city, Airbnb rentals, ranked-choice voting," 6 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'absentee.' 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 absentee

1537, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for absentee

borrowed from Anglo-French abscenté "person holding property in Ireland but illegally resident in England," from past participle of absenter "to be absent," verbal derivative of absent absent entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about absentee

Time Traveler for absentee

Time Traveler

The first known use of absentee was in 1537

See more words from the same year

Statistics for absentee

Last Updated

8 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Absentee.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/absentee. Accessed 12 December 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for absentee


How to pronounce absentee (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of absentee

: a person who is not present in a usual or expected place : a person who is absent


ab·​sen·​tee | \ ˌab-sən-ˈtē How to pronounce absentee (audio) \

Kids Definition of absentee

: a person who is not present


ab·​sen·​tee | \ ˌab-sən-ˈtē How to pronounce absentee (audio) \

Legal Definition of absentee

: one that is absent: as
a : a proprietor who lives away from his or her business or estate
b : a potential party to a legal action who is not present or does not have a representative present at a proceeding

Other Words from absentee

absentee adjective

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on absentee

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with absentee

Spanish Central: Translation of absentee

Nglish: Translation of absentee for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of absentee for Arabic Speakers

Comments on absentee

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


a period of high artistic development

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Semantic Drift Quiz

  • a twisty river
  • Which of the following was once a synonym for fun?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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