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Synonym Chooser

How is the word absentminded distinct from other similar adjectives?

Some common synonyms of absentminded are absent, abstracted, distracted, and preoccupied. While all these words mean "inattentive to what claims or demands consideration," absentminded implies that the mind is fixed elsewhere and often refers to a habit of abstractedness.

so absentminded, he's been known to wear mismatched shoes

Where would absent be a reasonable alternative to absentminded?

The words absent and absentminded are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, absent stresses inability to fix the mind on present concerns due more to mental wandering than to concentration on other matters.

an absent stare

When can abstracted be used instead of absentminded?

While in some cases nearly identical to absentminded, abstracted implies absorption of the mind in something other than one's surroundings, and often suggests reflection on weighty matters.

walking about with an abstracted air

When could distracted be used to replace absentminded?

The meanings of distracted and absentminded largely overlap; however, distracted may suggest an inability to concentrate caused by worry, sorrow, or anxiety.

was too distracted by grief to continue working

In what contexts can preoccupied take the place of absentminded?

While the synonyms preoccupied and absentminded are close in meaning, preoccupied often implies having one's attention so taken up by thoughts as to neglect others.

too preoccupied with her debts to enjoy the meal

Thesaurus Entries Near absentminded

Cite this Entry

“Absentminded.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/absentminded. Accessed 19 Jul. 2024.

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