ab·​sen·​tee·​ism | \ ˌab-sən-ˈtē-ˌi-zəm How to pronounce absenteeism (audio) \

Definition of absenteeism

1 : prolonged absence of an owner from his or her property
2 : chronic absence (as from work or school) also : the rate of such absence

Examples of absenteeism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Constant student anxiety Over 20 percent of today’s teenage students experience a form of acute anxiety leading to disengagement, more absenteeism, and isolation. Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, "Ten problems teachers did not have to deal with a decade ago," 18 Apr. 2018 Privacy - Terms Expanding Loads of Love could help address the chronic absenteeism that has plagued Kansas City Public Schools. The Kansas City Star Editorial Board, kansascity, "Expand Loads of Love laundry program to address chronic absenteeism in KC public schools," 22 Mar. 2018 School absenteeism fell slightly, but cases of flulike illness in long-term care facilities rose. Stacey Burling, Philly.com, "There's good news about flu in Pennsylvania and New Jersey," 28 Feb. 2018 The movie had a troubled production history, with director Bryan Singer fired and replaced by Dexter Fletcher a few weeks before the shoot ended, reportedly due to a temperamental personality and chronic absenteeism. Noel Murray, The Verge, "For the real Bohemian Rhapsody, stream the best recorded Queen concert this weekend," 2 Nov. 2018 The state’s pension system has an unfunded liability of $22 million, while the state’s graduation rate is third-worst in the nation and student absenteeism is a big problem. Gillian Flaccus, The Seattle Times, "Oregon’s incumbent Democrat faces tight race for governor," 26 Oct. 2018 Depression and anxiety are prevalent on campus, and high rates of absenteeism aren’t helping. Jennifer L. Taitz, WSJ, "The Case Against Cutting Class," 15 Aug. 2018 Without warning, organizations are left to deal with the aftermath, from absenteeism and turnover to hiring costs, lost productivity, onboarding, and more. Fraser Marlow, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Listen up — before it’s too late," 19 Apr. 2018 Parents who receive this temporary support have less absenteeism and are more productive on the job. Susan B. Parks, latimes.com, "Food stamps can make the difference for struggling O.C. families, many of them working," 5 July 2018

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

1829, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for absenteeism

absentee + -ism

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about absenteeism

Statistics for absenteeism

Last Updated

26 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for absenteeism

The first known use of absenteeism was in 1829

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for absenteeism



Financial Definition of absenteeism

What It Is

In the business world, absenteeism refers to the rate at which employees do not arrive for work as scheduled.

How It Works

Company XYZ is a health care provider. It has 25 nurses who are each responsible for seeing 10 patients a day. Every day, one or two nurses are not at work due to vacation or sickness. However, in the past month absenteeism has risen. Now, four or five nurses are often missing for the day, putting a severe strain on the nurses who do come to work, increasing the wait times for patients, and increasing the number of medical errors the nurses are making.

Why It Matters

Absenteeism increases costs and lowers profits because it reduces productivity and often work quality. A similar problem, presenteeism, occurs when employees choose to stay at work but handle personal and family issues at their desks rather than working. Many forms of absenteeism are protected by law (such as family leave under FMLA). Often, however, absenteeism can increase when workers feel stressed. U.S. companies lose billions due to chronic employee absenteeism.

Source: Investing Answers



English Language Learners Definition of absenteeism

: a tendency to be away from work or school without a good reason : the practice or habit of being absent from work or school

More from Merriam-Webster on absenteeism

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with absenteeism

Nglish: Translation of absenteeism for Spanish Speakers

Comments on absenteeism

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


to make a payment or contribution

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?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


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!