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 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

absent

verb
ab·​sent | \ ab-ˈsent How to pronounce absent (audio) , ˈab-ˌ\
absented; absenting; absents

Definition of absent (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

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

absent

preposition
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.

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from absent

Adjective

absently adverb
He replied absently to her question.

Synonyms & Antonyms for absent

Synonyms: Adjective

away, missing, out

Synonyms: Preposition

minus, sans, wanting, without

Antonyms: Adjective

here, in, present

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The 25-year-old has been noticeably absent on the reality show in recent years, only popping up when the cameras aren't rolling to take an occasional family holiday photo. Eileen Reslen, Good Housekeeping, "This Is Why Molly Roloff Is Barely on "Little People, Big World"," 2 Apr. 2019 At the breakfast table two guests were notably absent, having chosen to spend the morning playing tennis rather than join the group for its traditional sail. Janine Di Giovanni, Town & Country, "Is Brexit Ruining London Dinner Parties?," 25 Feb. 2019 But Mattis had a slew of meetings with his own counterparts during the NATO summit and was absent for some key moments. Carol E. Lee, NBC News, "Pentagon goes into 'damage control' mode to reassure NATO allies," 12 July 2018 But the mega-factories that boosted female employment there are largely absent in India. The Economist, "Why India needs women to work," 5 July 2018 Irving has been absent for much of the OTA practices the past three weeks and had sporadic attendance during the offseason program before that due to personal issues. Clarence Hill, star-telegram, "Jason Garrett unsure if two Dallas Cowboys stars will be at minicamp," 7 June 2018 Curiously, the 30th Anniversary Edition also gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, something absent from standard 2019 Miatas. Daniel Golson, Car and Driver, "Mazda Is Bringing More Units of the MX-5 Miata 30th Anniversary Edition to the U.S.," 14 May 2019 For example, when Sofia begins to try to cover for the children’s absent father, that is her way of protecting them from suffering from their father leaving them. Yolanda Machado, Harper's BAZAAR, "Yalitza Aparicio on Roma's Significance: "This Film Is An Opportunity to Make People Reflect"," 24 Feb. 2019 And, somewhat remarkably, when addressing England’s failings at previous tournaments, those three characteristics have always been absent. SI.com, "90Min World Cup Fan Diaries: Starting to Believe," 8 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But the president’s inner circle on immigration is grappling with the same problems that have plagued them for months, absent any law change by Congress. Colleen Long, The Seattle Times, "Trump struggles for a plan should the migrant caravan arrive," 23 Oct. 2018 So that means 50 Republican senators (or, with John McCain absent, all of them) have to go along with the Kabuki theater. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "After Blowing Up the Deficit, House Passes Mostly Phony Spending Cuts," 8 June 2018 With Arizona Republican John McCain absent Wednesday to receive treatment for cancer and Tennessee Republican Bob Corker traveling overseas, Brownback had very little margin for error. Lindsay Wise, Jonathan Shorman, Bryan Lowry And Hunter Woodall, kansascity, "Brownback wins confirmation for Trump post as Pence breaks deadlock," 24 Jan. 2018 Lori Loughlin was noticeably absent from the Kids’ Choice Awards on Saturday, but apparently not from the minds of her Fuller House castmates Candace Cameron Bure, Andrea Barber, and Jodie Sweetin. Vogue, "The Ladies of Fuller House Seemed to Stand Behind Lori Loughlin at the Kids’ Choice Awards," 25 Mar. 2019 Reports of genuine substance regarding any possible Chelsea incomings have been noticeably absent from the typical media buzz since the end of the season. SI.com, "Chelsea in Crisis as Senior Players Grow 'Increasingly Concerned' Over Lack of Transfer Activity," 19 June 2018 The number of these weapons in the American public’s hands is unknown, because the ATF cannot track them absent a serial number. Ben Kesling, WSJ, "Coast Guard Officer Accused of Planning Terror Attack Amassed an Arsenal," 21 Feb. 2019 Both found that employees who had tested positive before employment were absent more frequently and were more likely to be fired than those who tested negative. Mark A.r. Kleiman, Vox, "Is it time to do away with job applicant drug testing?," 27 July 2018 Meeting records show that Lori Flores Weisskopf, a commissioner since 2011, has been absent from 10 of 14 park board meetings since January and 17 of the 29 meetings that have taken place in the 12 months since last July. Karen Berkowitz, chicagotribune.com, "Park District of Highland Park commissioner missed 70 percent of meetings so far this year," 6 July 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. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about absent

Statistics for absent

Last Updated

6 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for absent

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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

WORD OF THE DAY

standardized text or formulaic language

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
True or False

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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