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

Her critical position in the Senate was the result of a midterm election and proof that party cohesion is not always absolute, even after a historic win. Rachel Janfaza, Teen Vogue, "These 3 Midterms Elections Prove That Off-Year Elections Really Matter," 26 Oct. 2018 But the elections have passed, and the CSU no longer holds the absolute majority in the state parliament. Sonja Peteranderl, The Verge, "Bavaria’s space program shot to viral fame — but it may be in trouble," 20 Oct. 2018 Again, this is mediocre content at absolute best and yet 450k+ people liked it so, IDK, maybe taste is relative? Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "This Week in Timothée Chalamet, October 5 Edition," 5 Oct. 2018 Not much is absolute about that Sunday afternoon in New York. Frank Fitzpatrick, Philly.com, "When and how the Phillies once played nine innings in 51 minutes," 9 July 2018 Hill has played just 65 minutes out of a possible 101 in the Finals to this point, despite their need to keep Clarkson's minutes to an absolute minimum. Rob Mahoney, SI.com, "It's Now or Never for George Hill and the Cavaliers," 6 June 2018 Her commitment to the game, in a country with only 700 registered players and four golf courses, is absolute. George Ramsay, CNN, "Pratima Sherpa: The meeting with Tiger Woods 'I'll never forget'," 1 June 2018 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

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

15 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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something that serves to warn or remind

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