absorb

verb
ab·​sorb | \ əb-ˈsȯrb How to pronounce absorb (audio) , -ˈzȯrb How to pronounce absorb (audio) \
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 How to pronounce absorbability (audio) , -​ˌzȯr-​ \ noun
absorbable \ əb-​ˈsȯr-​bə-​bəl How to pronounce absorbable (audio) , -​ˈzȯr-​ \ adjective
absorber noun

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

But critics say that these synthetic molecules may build up on strands, leading to breakage and preventing moisture from absorbing. Deanna Pai, Bon Appétit, "Why a Good, Clean Haircare Brand Is Hard to Find," 11 June 2019 But many people worry about algorithms absorbing human prejudices. The Economist, "Google rewards reputable reporting more than left-wing politics," 8 June 2019 Brown-Forman had to raise its prices as much as 10% in addition to absorbing some of the costs itself. Tim Fernholz, Quartz, "Tariffs are weighing down Jack Daniel’s," 5 June 2019 Those can absorb some energy from objects and surfaces around the seat that might impact it in a crash (think of, say, a door panel or armrest in a side impact). Alexander Stoklosa, Car and Driver, "Mercedes-Benz's Car Seat Prototype Will Make Children Safer," 21 May 2019 The greenhouse captures carbon gas that plants absorb for fuel. Robert Philpot, star-telegram, "A Dallas-based company is aiming for a vertical revolution in farming," 28 June 2018 Only Seattle Slew had previously completed a Triple Crown without absorbing a loss along the way. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "Triple Crown winner Justify makes it look easy in Belmont victory," 9 June 2018 Diatomaceous earth causes insects to dry out and die by absorbing the oils and fats from the cuticle of the insect's exoskeleton. OregonLive.com, "How to clear soil choked with old roots: Ask an expert," 6 June 2018 Coastal wetlands buffer the state from storm surge, absorb flooding, filter water and sequester greenhouse gases, all reasons that have prompted the state to launch a 50-year, $50-billion effort to restore the coast. Sara Sneath, NOLA.com, "As Louisiana's coast washes away, state cashing in on disputed oil and gas rights," 31 May 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

15 Jun 2019

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 How to pronounce absorb (audio) , -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 How to pronounce absorb (audio) , -ˈzȯ(ə)rb How to pronounce absorb (audio) \

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 How to pronounce absorbable (audio) , -​ˈzȯr-​ How to pronounce absorbable (audio) \ 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

More from Merriam-Webster on absorb

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with absorb

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for absorb

Spanish Central: Translation of absorb

Nglish: Translation of absorb for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of absorb for Arabic Speakers

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

showing great care, attention, and effort

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

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!