absolute

adjective

1
a
: free from imperfection : perfect
… it is a most absolute and excellent horse. William Shakespeare
b
: free or relatively free from mixture : pure
absolute alcohol
c
: outright, unmitigated
an absolute lie
2
: being, governed by, or characteristic of a ruler or authority completely free from constitutional or other restraint
absolute power
3
: having no restriction, exception, or qualification
an absolute requirement
absolute freedom
4
: positive, unquestionable
absolute proof
5
a
: independent of arbitrary standards of measurement
b
: relating to or derived in the simplest manner from the fundamental units of length, mass, and time
absolute electric units
c
: relating to, measured on, or being a temperature scale based on absolute zero
absolute temperature
specifically : kelvin
10° absolute
6
: fundamental, ultimate
absolute knowledge
7
: perfectly embodying the nature of a thing
absolute justice
8
grammar
a
: standing apart from a normal or usual syntactical relation with other words or sentence elements
the absolute construction this being the case in the sentence "this being the case, let us go"
b
of an adjective or possessive pronoun : standing alone without a modified substantive
Blind in "help the blind" and ours in "your work and ours" are absolute.
c
of a verb : having no object in the particular construction under consideration though normally transitive
Kill in "if looks could kill" is an absolute verb.
9
: being self-sufficient and free of external references or relationships
an absolute term in logic
absolute music
10
: being the true distance from an aircraft to the earth's surface
absolute altitude
absolute noun
absoluteness noun

Example Sentences

You can't predict the future with absolute certainty. I have absolute faith in her ability to get the job done. He swore an oath of absolute secrecy. When it comes to using computers, I'm an absolute beginner. The country is ruled by an absolute dictator. The country is an absolute monarchy. See More
Recent Examples on the Web We’re often led to believe that the only solution to this is to demand that digital overlords use their near absolute power more responsibly, and do a better job policing harmful and harassing posts. Evan Greer, Time, 3 Nov. 2022 But privacy experts have concerns that those protections may not be absolute. WIRED, 2 Nov. 2022 Analysts testified that the likelihood that the DNA found was not Sharpe were infinitesimally small, but it couldn’t be definitively proven as absolute fact as his without testing the entire population of the world. Taylor Hartz, Hartford Courant, 1 Nov. 2022 Leslie was both a man of the earth and an absolute angel ... Adrianna Freedman, Good Housekeeping, 25 Oct. 2022 Not to mention, the rapper seems to be at his absolute best when collaborating with the likes of DJ Khaled, Future, Wayne, 21 Savage, Lil Baby…the list goes on. Rivea Ruff, Essence, 24 Oct. 2022 There is such a drive nowadays to be the absolute best, not out of ambition but out of necessity. WSJ, 18 Oct. 2022 On top of guarding your skin against UV rays with broad-spectrum SPF 30, this moisturizer also contains exfoliating alpha hydroxy acids and hydrating hyaluronic acid so your skin looks and feels its absolute best. Jennifer Hussein, Allure, 12 Oct. 2022 Very special players/teams embrace the challenge to be a part of something bigger than one individual, knowing this will bring out the absolute best in them. The Courier-Journal, 1 Sep. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'absolute.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English absolut, borrowed from Latin absolūtus, from past participle of absolvere "to set free, acquit, finish, complete" — more at absolve

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of absolute was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near absolute

Cite this Entry

“Absolute.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/absolute. Accessed 30 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

absolute

adjective

1
a
: free from imperfection : perfect
b
: free or nearly free from mixture : pure
absolute alcohol
2
: free from restraint or limitation
absolute power
an absolute monarch
3
: having no exceptions
an absolute requirement
absolute freedom
4
: free from doubt : certain
absolute proof
5
a
: independent of standards of measurement that reflect individual choice : actual
absolute brightness of a star
absolute motion
b
: relating to or coming from the basic units of length, mass, and time
absolute electric units
c
: relating to the absolute-temperature scale
10° absolute
absoluteness
-ˌlüt-nəs
-ˈlüt-
noun

Medical Definition

absolute

adjective

ab·​so·​lute ˌab-sə-ˈlüt How to pronounce absolute (audio)
1
: pure or relatively free from mixture
absolute methanol
2
: relating to, measured on, or being a temperature scale based on absolute zero
absolute temperature

Legal Definition

absolute

adjective

ab·​so·​lute
1
a
: free from qualification, condition, exception, or restriction
rights that even seem absolute have these qualifications Long v. Rockwood, 277 U.S. 142 (1928)
see also absolute ownership at ownership compare qualified
b
in the civil law of Louisiana : having or allowing no legal effect
an absolute impediment
2
: final and not liable to modification
sometimes used after the word it modifies
divorce absolute
compare nisi
absolutely adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on absolute

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