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.

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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


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


renew, replace

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Other experts have pointed out that concrete naturally absorbs carbon dioxide. Chelsea Harvey, Scientific American, "Cement Producers Are Developing a Plan to Reduce CO2 Emissions," 9 July 2018 The truth is, the marinade isn’t really absorbing into the meat past the top layer, so even an hour is usually enough to get some nice flavor. Justin Ward, San Antonio Express-News, "Does marinating meat overnight really make a difference?," 3 July 2018 But Truman Medical Center is one of the 12 and chief financial officer Allen Johnson said his organization couldn't absorb the 10 percent reduction. Andy Marso, kansascity, "Truman Medical Center says proposed Medicaid cut ‘would be a disaster’," 27 June 2018 The Vegan Collagen powder had already been in the works, but then Bacon learned that its ingredients could also be absorbed transdermally. Deanna Pai, Bon Appetit, "Moon Juice Founder Amanda Chantal Bacon Has a New Beauty Line and, Fine, I'm Into It," 25 June 2018 During the winter, says Sykes, the home absorbs sunlight to help passively heat the house; its orientation also helps additional natural light inside during darker months. Samantha Weiss Hills, Curbed, "In Denver, a family puts a modern twist on the classic Ranch house," 25 June 2018 People cannot and need not absorb meaning at the speed of light. Logan Jenkins, sandiegouniontribune.com, "What does the future hold for the newspaper you're reading?," 25 June 2018 As Cook’s Illustrated explains, rice can only absorb so much water, and only so much water will evaporate in cooking. Becky Krystal, sacbee, "A better pot of rice is within your reach | The Sacramento Bee," 17 Apr. 2018 Now, the Heat has been trying to dump Johnson’s contract for a shorter deal with less money or to a team with cap space to absorb his salary, according to an NBA official in touch with the Heat’s front office. Barry Jackson, miamiherald, "Tyler Johnson contract creating challenges, and these interesting future options for Heat," 12 July 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.

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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

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Statistics for absorb

Last Updated

7 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for absorb

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

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More Definitions for absorb


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

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

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Comments on absorb

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