absorb

verb
ab·​sorb | \əb-ˈsȯrb, -ˈzȯrb \
absorbed; absorbing; absorbs

Definition of absorb 

transitive verb

1a : to take in (something, such as water) in a natural or gradual way a sponge absorbs water charcoal absorbs gas plant roots absorb water

b : to take in (knowledge, attitudes, etc.) : acquire, learn … convictions absorbed in youth …— M. R. Cohen

c : use up, consume The fever absorbed her strength. His work absorbs all his time and attention.

2 : to take in and make part of an existent whole the capacity of a country to absorb new immigrants

3 : to engage or engross wholly an interest that absorbs her completely absorbed in thought

4a(1) : to receive without recoil or echo provided with a sound-absorbing surface

(2) : endure, sustain absorbing hardships

(3) : assume, bear The expenses were absorbed by the company.

b : to transform (radiant energy) into a different form especially with a resulting rise in temperature The earth absorbs the sun's rays.

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from absorb

absorbability \ əb-​ˌsȯr-​bə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē , -​ˌzȯr-​ \ noun
absorbable \ əb-​ˈsȯr-​bə-​bəl , -​ˈzȯr-​ \ adjective
absorber noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for absorb

Synonyms

burn, consume, deplete, devour, drain, draw down, exhaust, expend, play out, spend, use up

Antonyms

renew, replace

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of absorb in a Sentence

a fabric that absorbs sweat The walls are made of a material that absorbs sound. absorbing heat from the sun She is good at absorbing information. He has retained the values that he absorbed as a young man. a country that has absorbed many immigrants smaller countries invaded and absorbed by bigger ones His interest in photography absorbs him completely. I was so absorbed by her story that I lost track of time.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Well, a 2016 study on 2,000 women suggested that the association between ovarian cancer and talcum powder comes from talc — a mineral made up of magnesium, silicon, and oxygen, that absorbs moisture — not asbestos. refinery29.com, "Johnson & Johnson Owes $4.69 Billion In Another Ovarian Cancer Case," 13 July 2018 The sap contains a class of chemicals that absorb specific wavelengths of light. Laura Yan, Popular Mechanics, "Giant, Scary Invasive Flower Can Cause Third-Degree Burns," 7 July 2018 Default ingredients include soft potato wedges that absorb the sauce, as well as broccoli, celery, cauliflower, soybean sprouts, and bright red chiles with cilantro and sesame seeds. Mike Sula, Chicago Reader, "All hail Hunanese dry hot pot at Sizzling Pot King," 5 July 2018 The remainder went to grow their capital reserves, which absorb losses in a crisis. Liz Hoffman, WSJ, "5 Things to Watch for in the 2018 Bank Stress Tests," 27 June 2018 But payroll records obtained by the Globe indicate the overtime for the Emergency Response posts has endured, simply moving with Troop E members to a reconfigured Troop H, which absorbed policing of tunnels and the eastern portion of the turnpike. Kay Lazar, BostonGlobe.com, "Records reveal trooper posts that are overtime all the time," 23 June 2018 Ditto if your metal pan is dark, which absorbs more heat. Becky Krystal, Houston Chronicle, "This classic coffee cake is what good mornings are made of," 18 June 2018 In electricity, a sector that absorbs 40 percent of the world’s primary energy and produces more than a third of its emissions, the past 20 years have been running to stay still. David Roberts, Vox, "The most depressing energy chart of the year," 16 June 2018 At our previous location, there were cubicle walls that absorbed some of the sound, but in our current space there is nowhere to hide. Amy Dickinson, chicagotribune.com, "Alcoholic friend should abstain from camping," 15 June 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for absorb

borrowed from Middle French assorber, absorber, asorbir, absorbir, going back to Old French, borrowed (with conjugation changes) from Latin absorbēre, from ab- ab- + sorbēre "to suck up, draw in, engulf," going back to Indo-European *sṛbh-eii̯̯e-, probably re-formed from *srobh-eii̯̯e-, iterative derivative from the verb base *srebh- "suck up, drink noisily"; akin to Greek rophéō, ropheîn "to drink in gulps," Armenian arbi "drank," Lithuanian srebiù, srė̃bti "to gulp," Old Russian sereblyu, serebati

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about absorb

Statistics for absorb

Last Updated

2 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for absorb

The first known use of absorb was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for absorb

absorb

verb
ab·​sorb | \əb-ˈsȯrb, -ˈzȯrb\
absorbed; absorbing

Kids Definition of absorb

1 : to take in or swallow up A sponge absorbs water.

2 : to hold the complete attention of She was absorbed by the movie.

3 : to receive without giving back The walls of the theater absorb sound.

ab·​sorb | \əb-ˈsȯ(ə)rb, -ˈzȯ(ə)rb \

Medical Definition of absorb 

1 : to take up especially by capillary, osmotic, solvent, or chemical action surgical sutures which can be absorbed by the body the blood in the lungs absorbs oxygen

2 : to transform (radiant energy) into a different form usually with a resulting rise in temperature chlorophyll reflects green light and absorbs the other colors of light

Other Words from absorb

absorbable \ əb-​ˈsȯr-​bə-​bəl , -​ˈzȯr-​ \ adjective
absorber noun
ab·​sorb

Legal Definition of absorb 

1 : to make (a right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution) applicable to the states

2a : to bear or assume the burden of expenses were absorbed by the company

b : to lessen the tax liability for has other losses to absorb the income— D. Q. Posin

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on absorb

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

WORD OF THE DAY

obstinately defiant of authority

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
True or False

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!