absorb

verb

absorbed; absorbing; absorbs

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 noun
absorbable adjective

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.
Recent Examples on the Web That gave audience members time to absorb the crazy spectacle onstage: several percussion stations with dozens of instruments, and a pair of five long colored ribbons leading from center stage to bells temporarily installed in balcony boxes on either side of the hall. Jim Higgins, Journal Sentinel, 18 May 2024 Its poundcake density is substantial enough to maintain structure yet porous enough to absorb the milks, with just the right, rounded hit of vanilla. Bill Addison, Los Angeles Times, 17 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for absorb 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'absorb.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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

Dictionary Entries Near absorb

Cite this Entry

“Absorb.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/absorb. Accessed 22 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

absorb

verb
1
: to take in or suck or swallow up
a sponge absorbs water
plant roots absorb water
2
: to hold the interest of : engross
absorbed in thought
3
a
: to receive without giving back
a sound-absorbing surface
b
: to transform (radiant energy) into a different form usually with a resulting rise in temperature
the earth absorbs the sun's rays
absorbability noun
absorbable adjective
absorber noun

Medical Definition

absorb

transitive verb
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 adjective
absorber noun

Legal Definition

absorb

transitive verb
ab·​sorb
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 incomeD. Q. Posin

More from Merriam-Webster on absorb

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