Definition of absent in English:



Pronunciation /ˈabs(ə)nt/
  • 1Not present in a place, at an occasion, or as part of something.

    ‘most pupils were absent from school at least once’
    ‘absent colleagues’
    ‘wings are absent in several species of crane flies’
    • ‘But, unfortunately, insight of this sort is absent from this book.’
    • ‘Hotels, casinos, holiday-makers and rivercraft are conspicuously absent from Monet's work.’
    • ‘The director of strategy and development was to have been disciplined over the matter but was absent from work through sickness and later resigned.’
    • ‘Noticeably absent from the Havana conference were trade union representatives from the USA and Canada.’
    • ‘While there are 50 or more volunteers already, more are needed to replace those who may have to be absent from time to time.’
    • ‘But there is also a feeling of wit and hope, conspicuously absent from the previous show, which suggests a new inner positivity.’
    • ‘Part of the new arrangements will see people being paid minimum contractual hours when absent from work and not the average hours they currently receive.’
    • ‘Remarkably, however, nectar is absent from those species that produce pseudopollen.’
    • ‘The other nurse, who continues to suffer ill health arising from the near assault, has been absent from work on a number of occasions.’
    • ‘Shouldn't we be working on getting in touch with this technology so that we can keep track of children and young people who are absent from school?’
    • ‘Here is a government made up largely of men who have spent huge periods of time almost completely absent from their children's lives.’
    • ‘It is hoped the latest clampdown will be particularly effective in tackling pupils who travel out of their own districts when absent from school.’
    • ‘And yet, health is virtually absent from public debates and democratic politics in India.’
    • ‘You don't have to agree with any of their viewpoints to realise that it is unhealthy for democracy to have such voices absent from the House of Commons.’
    • ‘This livestock disease is endemic in countries unable to afford intensive agriculture, yet has been absent from Europe for three decades.’
    • ‘The new scheme will give head teachers the power to issue on-the-spot fines if a child is absent from school without permission.’
    • ‘Kids being kids, they asked if they could have chips, but the ubiquitous fried potato was absent from this particular hostelry.’
    • ‘They have the natural goodness that is absent from processed cereals, and they can lower cholesterol and reduce constipation.’
    • ‘The meeting will continue today because six of the committee's members were absent from Tuesday's session.’
    • ‘These powerful processes are absent from the European Commission.’
    away, off, out, not present, non-attending, truant
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  • 2(of an expression or manner) showing that someone is not paying attention to what is being said or done.

    ‘she looked up with an absent smile’
    • ‘His face wore an absent expression, as of deep thought, and I became afraid that if his eyes did light upon me he would nevertheless not see me.’
    • ‘Janine walks by with an absent smile on her face and a clump of the man's hair in her fist.’
    • ‘There's a few absent smiles and drumming of fingers on shopping trolleys, we're all gearing up for the big chorus.’
    • ‘Ryan felt her finger trace around his hand in an absent manner and wanted nothing more than to squeeze her and never let go.’
    • ‘A little Dutch clock in the bar struck one while Lady Audley lingered in this irresolute, absent manner.’
    • ‘Ms. Crew reached for the door handle, her face frozen in an absent smile.’
    • ‘At others her expression and demeanour almost seem absent, detached, as if beyond the music.’
    • ‘She just looked at him, curious as to why his absent expression was now missing, replaced by a foolish something.’
    • ‘His hurt expression and absent apology stirred little guilt in her hardened bosom.’
    • ‘Verity gave her a small and rather absent smile as she hunted around the kitchen, searching the space near the kettle and the shelves by the window.’
    • ‘It was a nice face, with squinty eyes, graying brown hair, wrinkles, and a little, absent smile.’
    • ‘She raised her head in an absent manner, and eyed the leering man with clouded eyes.’
    • ‘Jasmine jolted to a halt and stared aghast into the unholy creature's absent eyes.’
    • ‘His absent smile reminded the two thirsty coppers that they were on duty.’
    distracted, preoccupied, inattentive, vague, absorbed, abstracted, unheeding, oblivious, distrait, absent-minded
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[with object]
Pronunciation /abˈsɛnt/
absent oneself
  • Go away or remain away.

    ‘halfway through the meal, he absented himself from the table’
    • ‘Over the past few generations, economic migration has resulted in men absenting themselves from family life.’
    • ‘He called on the Government to act without delay on the Tribunals and he appealed to the big business interests of the country to stick by their country and not to choose to legally absent themselves from the Irish tax jurisdiction.’
    • ‘None of his predecessors - not even the autocratic Sir Robert Walpole - ever absented themselves so much from the Commons chamber.’
    • ‘Your mother was taking her mother shopping today, and I should have gone to help out with mother-management, but I absented myself.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, since volunteering means absenting oneself from employment, not everyone can afford the experience.’
    • ‘She said that her son was known as a bright child and had never absented himself from school.’
    • ‘What was at issue was the fact that the youngsters ought to have been in school, and had not been given any permission to absent themselves.’
    • ‘He absented himself from council meetings, got into debt, and sold off his wife's inheritance.’
    • ‘There are those of his nine children from whose lives he absented himself for several years.’
    • ‘Judges frequently absented themselves from court cases to avoid sentencing members of armed opposition groups or remanding them in police custody.’
    • ‘It's been seven and a half weeks and I haven't absented myself once.’
    • ‘But none of the other parties dared absent themselves.’
    • ‘They all said that their children were quite worried by their absenting themselves for such a long period.’
    • ‘He said: ‘I shall be absenting myself from work without authority to stand outside the Mansion House.’’
    • ‘If your family celebrates Christmas, then absenting yourself for the day to go and read a book is simply not on.’
    • ‘Your coverage of the decision by Labour councillors to absent themselves from much of the last local council meeting failed to stress the constitutional implications of this blunder.’
    • ‘Of those who absented themselves, he said that many in their second year of secondary school felt disaffected by the education system.’
    • ‘My wife was not at that meeting, and she specifically absented herself from that meeting, so as to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest.’
    • ‘The fact that his wife worked on the fields meant that Bandia could absent himself every once in a while to conduct his commercial activities.’
    • ‘It wasn't just that he helped teach me the finer points of putting words on paper, it was also his amazing facility for absenting himself from the office without being noticed by our superiors that endeared him to me.’
    stay away, keep away, be absent, withdraw, retire, take one's leave, remove oneself, slip away, take oneself off, abscond
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North American
  • Without.

    ‘absent a willingness to negotiate, you can't have collective bargaining’
    • ‘Again, absent the use of a gun, knife or poison, jurors rarely accepted arguments for murderous intent.’
    • ‘Indeed, absent mitigating factors, such as age and health, I would have imposed a lengthier term in prison.’
    • ‘At present, that war is being won by mere force of arms, absent any moral justification.’
    • ‘So there are some people who have some visions about it still being the same old place absent the people who live and used to live here.’
    • ‘But, absent a change in the course of this election, he's on his way to another four years.’
    • ‘Neither has any base in the city or standing anywhere else absent their connection to him.’
    • ‘Japan's price level could well have fallen even more absent the monetary ease.’
    • ‘And absent that, the public can make its own choice to buy it or pass on it.’
    • ‘Where does it say that the president has its authority to do this absent a congressional authorization?’
    • ‘This suggests that Japan's stagnation will continue absent a drastic shock to the system.’
    • ‘But absent that explanation, it is difficult to justify the actions that were taken.’
    • ‘The Justices are perfectly entitled, should they think fit, to convict absent such evidence.’
    • ‘It may seem silly, but absent an instruction sheet, how was he to know?’
    • ‘I mean, absent the facial disfigurement, you would say he looks pretty good.’
    • ‘Today the study of medicinal mushrooms continues, albeit absent the deities.’
    • ‘But that day isn't going to be now, or any time in the next ten years, absent a major breakthrough.’
    • ‘However, absent a working alternative, there is no substitute for civil justice.’
    • ‘Yet, this is indeed possible absent a willingness to read critically and teach students to do likewise.’
    • ‘In the meantime, I am inclined to accept Fund's denials absent contrary evidence.’
    • ‘Yet absent a constitutional amendment, that is precisely what we face.’


Middle English: via Old French from Latin absens, absent- ‘being absent’, present participle of abesse, from ab- ‘from, away’ + esse ‘to be’.