ab·​so·​lute | \ ˈab-sə-ˌlüt How to pronounce absolute (audio) , ˌab-sə-ˈlüt How to pronounce absolute (audio) \

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 This is an absolute must-win game for Lions general manager Bob Quinn and coach Matt Patricia. Carlos Monarrez, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Lions vs. Washington predictions: Losing skid should end for Matt Patricia's team," 24 Nov. 2019 The more-personal platform is usually private; friend requests typically aren’t made between absolute strangers. Brianna Holt, Quartzy, "Twitter and Instagram are arguably the best dating apps around," 22 Nov. 2019 Keeping people who are in a crisis safe is at the absolute core of the county’s work and mission,’’ said Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury. oregonlive, "Multnomah County staff mishandled hundreds of mental health abuse complaints, report finds," 20 Nov. 2019 Young men, especially, were lured to the Middle East with the improbably heady mix of absolute religious certainty, the license for almost unlimited violence and regular pay. Mohammed Tawfeeq, CNN, "Counting AK47s and learning trigonometry for snipers. How children were taught math under ISIS," 19 Nov. 2019 While the true nature of this phone call has yet to be determined, the effectiveness of the weapon is an absolute certainty. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "What Is the Javelin Missile at the Center of Trump's Impeachment Scandal?," 27 Sep. 2019 But Thunberg has something very rare as well: a sense of absolute certainty. Scott Waldman, Scientific American, "Climate Deniers Launch Personal Attacks on Teen Activist," 9 Aug. 2019 Scientists had just proved that gravity warps space-time – that in the most extreme conditions, one point of perception is not absolute. The Christian Science Monitor, "A life overflowing with meaning," 8 Nov. 2019 The link between fewer hits and higher performance is not absolute. Matt Kawahara, SFChronicle.com, "Raiders keeping Derek Carr upright, ‘fresh as can be’," 30 Oct. 2019

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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Time Traveler for absolute

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for absolute

Last Updated

29 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Absolute.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/absoluteness. Accessed 9 December 2019.

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More Definitions for absolute


How to pronounce absolute (audio) How to pronounce absolute (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of absolute

: complete and total
: not limited in any way
: having unlimited power


ab·​so·​lute | \ ˈab-sə-ˌlüt How to pronounce absolute (audio) \

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 How to pronounce absolute (audio) \

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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