ab·​so·​lute | \ˈab-sə-ˌlüt, ˌab-sə-ˈ \

Definition of absolute 

1a : free from imperfection : perfect … it is a most absolute and excellent horse.— William Shakespeare

b : free or relatively free from mixture : pure absolute alcohol

c : outright, unmitigated an absolute lie

2 : being, governed by, or characteristic of a ruler or authority completely free from constitutional or other restraint absolute power

3 : having no restriction, exception, or qualification an absolute requirement absolute freedom

4 : positive, unquestionable absolute proof

5a : independent of arbitrary standards of measurement

b : relating to or derived in the simplest manner from the fundamental units of length, mass, and time absolute electric units

c : relating to, measured on, or being a temperature scale based on absolute zero absolute temperature specifically : kelvin 10° absolute

6 : fundamental, ultimate absolute knowledge

7 : perfectly embodying the nature of a thing absolute justice

8 grammar

a : standing apart from a normal or usual syntactical relation with other words or sentence elements the absolute construction this being the case in the sentence "this being the case, let us go"

b of an adjective or possessive pronoun : standing alone without a modified substantive Blind in "help the blind" and ours in "your work and ours" are absolute.

c of a verb : having no object in the particular construction under consideration though normally transitive Kill in "if looks could kill" is an absolute verb.

9 : being self-sufficient and free of external references or relationships an absolute term in logic absolute music

10 : being the true distance from an aircraft to the earth's surface absolute altitude

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Other Words from absolute

absolute noun
absoluteness noun

Examples of absolute in a Sentence

You can't predict the future with absolute certainty. I have absolute faith in her ability to get the job done. He swore an oath of absolute secrecy. When it comes to using computers, I'm an absolute beginner. The country is ruled by an absolute dictator. The country is an absolute monarchy.
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Recent Examples on the Web

After their victory in 1714 in the War of the Spanish Succession, in which most of the Catalan elite had ended up backing the losing Austrian side, the victorious Bourbons imposed an absolute and unitary monarchy. The Economist, "The siren call of separatism," 12 July 2018 Barcelona With its Catalonian architecture and famed galleries, Barcelona is an absolute must visit for any culture tripper. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "The Best International Vacations for the Extended Fourth of July Weekend," 25 June 2018 Venezuela’s held three elections in just five months, which have left President Nicolas Maduro with almost absolute power. Jerry Reynolds, Houston Chronicle, "Car Pro: I can’t afford my car. What do I do?," 16 June 2018 Whether jesting or not, no U.S. president has been as free in his admiration of dictators and absolute power as the 45th, historians say. Philip Rucker, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump's praise of Kim Jong Un marks embrace of totalitarian leaders," 16 June 2018 Sleep is an absolute, nobody out there is not sleeping. People Staff, PEOPLE.com, "Roseanne Barr Blamed Her Racist Tweets on Ambien: What to Know About the Sedative," 30 May 2018 Is Cohen truly prepared to flip, or are all these signals being sent in the name of forcing some action from Trump — whether through paying legal bills or something more absolute, such as a pardon? Aaron Blake, Washington Post, "Michael Cohen to Trump: I will flip on you," 2 July 2018 Lawmakers need a simple majority of 218 members to circumvent the near-absolute power of Ryan and his Leadership Team to keep matters off the House floor. Philip Elliott, Time, "Why Republicans Can't Agree on Immigration," 7 June 2018 His main rival, President Yameen Abdul Gayoom, has near-absolute power. Krishan Francis, Fox News, "AP Interview: Fugitive Maldives ex-leader aims for return," 1 June 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for absolute

Middle English absolut, borrowed from Latin absolūtus, from past participle of absolvere "to set free, acquit, finish, complete" — more at absolve

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Statistics for absolute

Last Updated

1 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for absolute

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

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More Definitions for absolute



English Language Learners Definition of absolute

: complete and total

: not limited in any way

: having unlimited power


ab·​so·​lute | \ˈab-sə-ˌlüt \

Kids Definition of absolute

1 : total entry 1 sense 1, complete absolute darkness

2 : not limited in any way absolute power

3 : free from doubt : certain absolute proof

Other Words from absolute

absolutely adverb absolutely certain


ab·​so·​lute | \ˌab-sə-ˈlüt \

Medical Definition of absolute 

1 : pure or relatively free from mixture absolute methanol

2 : relating to, measured on, or being a temperature scale based on absolute zero absolute temperature

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Legal Definition of absolute 

1a : free from qualification, condition, exception, or restriction rights that even seem absolute have these qualificationsLong v. Rockwood, 277 U.S. 142 (1928) — see also absolute ownership at ownership — compare qualified

b in the civil law of Louisiana : having or allowing no legal effect an absolute impediment

2 : final and not liable to modification sometimes used after the word it modifies divorce absolute — compare nisi

Other Words from absolute

absolutely adverb

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Comments on absolute

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playful or foolish behavior

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