absorb

play
verb ab·sorb \ əb-ˈsȯrb , -ˈzȯrb \

Definition of absorb

transitive verb
1 a :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
4 a (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.

absorbability

play \əb-ˌsȯr-bə-ˈbi-lə-tē, -ˌzȯr-\ noun

absorbable

play \əb-ˈsȯr-bə-bəl, -ˈzȯr-\ adjective

absorber

noun

Examples of absorb in a Sentence

  1. a fabric that absorbs sweat

  2. The walls are made of a material that absorbs sound.

  3. absorbing heat from the sun

  4. She is good at absorbing information.

  5. He has retained the values that he absorbed as a young man.

  6. a country that has absorbed many immigrants

  7. smaller countries invaded and absorbed by bigger ones

  8. His interest in photography absorbs him completely.

  9. I was so absorbed by her story that I lost track of time.

Recent Examples of absorb from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of 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

absorb Synonyms

Synonyms
drink, imbibe, soak (up), sponge, suck (up), take up
Antonyms
renew, replace
Related Words
gulp, guzzle, quaff, sip, slurp, swallow, swig, swill
Near Antonyms
bore, jade, pall, tire, weary

Other Chemical Engineering Terms


ABSORB Defined for Kids

absorb

play
verb ab·sorb \ əb-ˈsȯrb , -ˈzȯrb \

Definition of absorb for Students

absorbed; absorbing
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.

Medical Dictionary

absorb

play
transitive verb 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

absorbable

play \əb-ˈsȯr-bə-bəl, -ˈzȯr-\ adjective

absorber

noun

Law Dictionary

absorb

transitive verb ab·sorb

legal Definition of absorb

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


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

of yeast or being unsettled or frivolous

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Merriam-Webster's New Words Quiz—Fall 2017 Edition!

  • young-plant-shoots
  • Which of the following is a new sense of the word bunny?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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!