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

Synonyms & Antonyms for absolute



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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 October, however, is the absolute best time to go for the gold and begin an ambitious business or financial project. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, "Horoscope for March 16, 2021: Leo, deal with issues rationally; Aquarius, think for yourself," 16 Mar. 2021 Senate rules limit the use of budget reconciliation both in terms of subject matter and the absolute number of times a year. W. James Antle Iii, Washington Examiner, "Party of groupthink," 11 Mar. 2021 Playing on their home court, the Bees picked the absolute worst time to have a bad quarter, as GlenOak enjoyed a 19-2 advantage in the third period and outscored the hosts, 37-16, after halftime. Joe Magill, cleveland, "Lanae Riley makes up for lost time as Hoban girls basketball ousts Canton McKinley, 63-56; Medina falls to GlenOak, 54-38," 3 Mar. 2021 There is no question that maximizing the absolute number of doses must take precedence in distributing Covid-19 vaccines, along with prioritizing individuals and communities with the greatest need. Martin Shell, STAT, "With Covid-19 vaccines, ‘fair’ isn’t always fair enough," 12 Feb. 2021 But the absolute best time to buy a mattress is during big retail holidays like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which typically offer the biggest savings of the year. Better Homes & Gardens, "10 Affordable Mattresses Backed by Thousands of Reviews," 22 Jan. 2021 Schäfer explained that when the overall percentage of citizens voting drops significantly, the relative proportion as well as the absolute number of the disadvantaged participating in elections plummet. Win Mccormack, The New Republic, "Yes, You Have a Duty to Vote," 22 Oct. 2020 For lacrosse, the situation is perhaps worse, if only because the absolute number of kids playing the game is higher. Ruth S. Barrett, The Atlantic, "Rich Parents Went All In on Lacrosse. And Squash. And Water Polo.," 17 Oct. 2020 The ladytestants are incredibly turned on by seeing a man maintain the tiniest bit of decorum in the face of the absolute chaos of the previous 19 days. Ali Barthwell, Vulture, "We Need to Talk About The Bachelor," 16 Feb. 2021

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

5 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Absolute.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/absolute. Accessed 16 Apr. 2021.

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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 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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Comments on absolute

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