Definition of absence in US English:



  • 1The state of being away from a place or person.

    ‘the letter had arrived during his absence’
    ‘I supervised the rehearsal in the absence of the director’
    • ‘He explained his absence by telling all concerned he was going into hospital for three weeks for an operation.’
    • ‘However, in her absence, I'll just have to make do with thinking about it myself.’
    • ‘On Wednesday night, there was a clear demonstration of the effect that absence has on colleagues.’
    • ‘Whether this was discussed or not in his absence, was unclear till late in the evening.’
    • ‘Almost half were with their parents, who made some excuses for their absence.’
    • ‘Yet in a play that explores spiritual emptiness, the sense of absence is strangely appropriate.’
    • ‘He explains his absence from school by saying he is on a part-time timetable.’
    • ‘In my father's absence he likes to visit my mother, most of the time for no reason.’
    • ‘Some more of the team had arrived during our absence, and looked at the pictures of the party.’
    • ‘It was only when undertakers called at the hospital to collect the baby that his absence was discovered.’
    • ‘That night she climbed into bed just as conscious of Will's absence now as she had been the night after he died.’
    • ‘Some of them had not been seen for months, if not years, and one in ten staff was unavailable because of absence.’
    • ‘Why is it that we can only appreciate what we have when we experience its absence?’
    • ‘He later admitted in a press conference yesterday that his absence was intentional.’
    • ‘The jury was sent home until Monday after being told legal submissions will be made in their absence today.’
    • ‘So as the programme drew to a close his absence was felt more than ever before.’
    • ‘Downsizing produced an increased risk of sickness absence, in line with earlier findings.’
    • ‘She had been in New York for the past few weeks and knew little of the scheming that was going on in her absence.’
    • ‘Since then, the earl had seen people dying in the great plague, the clergy conspicuous by its absence.’
    • ‘It alerts the employee's manager and supplies statistics about absence to the council.’
    non-attendance, non-appearance, absenteeism
    failing, in default of, lacking, wanting, notwithstanding, without
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    1. 1.1 An occasion or period of being away from a place or person.
      ‘repeated absences from school’
      • ‘With people keen to enjoy the heat, the number of unauthorised absences from work were reported to be high.’
      • ‘The under-17 age squad was badly affected by holidays and absences but still turned in some great performances.’
      • ‘Headteacher Gillian James said the protest was good-natured but warned that future absences would be punished.’
      • ‘The only thing that ever gets him down is prolonged absences from three-year-old daughter Zoe, who still lives in Holland.’
      • ‘Wouldn't the employer want to suffer one day of not having an employee than having the potential of multiple absences in one day?’
      • ‘All school absences should be explained in writing to your child's teacher.’
      • ‘In 2001 teachers in Doncaster and London refused to cover for absences any longer than three days.’
      • ‘All council staff know that the majority of absences are left uncovered.’
      • ‘He has undoubtedly made up for that absence and has drawn warm praise from his manager and admiration from the fans.’
      • ‘She had completed freshman year, and only had to make up a couple of courses over the summer to makeup her absences.’
      • ‘It revealed more than 60 per cent of firms experienced absences last year due to stress at work.’
      • ‘However, she came under increasing criticism for her frequent absences while running her other company in Santiago de Chile.’
      • ‘Anderson's absences caused by knee problems down through the years have not proved the handicaps they could have been.’
      • ‘You should keep records of absences and introduce a trigger mechanism that alerts you to look into regular absenteeism and the reasons for it.’
      • ‘If a child has ten unauthorised absences during a six-week period then a parent is sent a fixed penalty notice warning.’
      • ‘The innovative scheme could be used to send revision questions and exam timetables, or chase-up homework and absences.’
      • ‘The following year I implemented this regime and the absences reduced to two days in a whole year.’
      • ‘Even temporary absences from them seemed to suggest, in her darkest moments, the immutable separation of death.’
      • ‘Rex continues to preach once each quarter and happily stands in for any absences.’
      • ‘He added that his school had already greatly reduced the numbers of unauthorised absences to well below the national average.’
    2. 1.2absence of The nonexistence or lack of.
      ‘she found his total absence of facial expression disconcerting’
      • ‘In the absence of pictorial reality we reach instinctively for clues to some sort of story.’
      • ‘Mr Wilkins said the absence of a cinema in the town is a commonly raised issue.’
      • ‘In the absence of named candidates or any real campaign about policy, what is an election?’
      • ‘The absence of a smoke detector in the room has prompted an immediate investigation.’
      • ‘Courts also have the option of hearing the case in the absence of the defendant, he warned.’
      • ‘In the absence of any treatable cause, the best that can be offered is control of the symptoms.’
      • ‘In the absence of firm evidence and reliable facts, it is that line which tends to be followed.’
      • ‘In the absence of a decent World Cup anthem, we invited you to pen an official Guardian song.’
      • ‘How could you have possibly not noticed the absence of such a fundamental requirement?’
      • ‘Yes, the almost total absence of rural policing is a major problem in urgent need of a solution.’
      failing, in default of, lacking, wanting, notwithstanding, without
      lack, want, non-existence, unavailability, deficiency, deprivation, dearth
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  • absence makes the heart grow fonder

    • proverb You feel more affection for those you love when parted from them.

      • ‘They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, but it can also make the heart forget.’
      • ‘And while absence makes the heart grow fonder, well, so does maturity.’
      • ‘They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, and for Colchester troops returning from peace-keeping duties 3,500 miles away from home it seems to be true.’
      • ‘Loads of young couples believe that absence makes the heart grow fonder but distance is a real test for a relationship.’
      • ‘If you stay away from me during the morning, then that will strengthen our relationship because absence makes the heart grow fonder.’
      • ‘They says absence makes the heart grow fonder, but sometimes it just allows the heart to find someone else because you're lonely or horny.’
      • ‘So tonight you're going to catch your breath and put to test that absence makes the heart grow fonder theory.’
      • ‘They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, and I hope that as a result I've been able to grasp something of the spirit of these wild and wonderful places.’
      • ‘You know what they say folks, absence makes the heart grow fonder.’
      • ‘No, I miss my wife when I'm on tour, but it's good to be apart, because absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?’
  • absence of mind

    • Failure to concentrate on or remember what one is doing.

      • ‘I can't believe I actually had the absence of mind to even start caring for you, because look where it got me.’
      • ‘But I have nevertheless gone straight to the bathroom, not in unfreedom of will but in ridiculous absence of mind.’
      • ‘As a professed historian, he exhibits an inexcusable absence of mind.’
      • ‘While there were periods of indecision in the conquest of this corner of the Empire, there was no absence of mind.’
      • ‘The separation of company and government was more apparent than real throughout this period, but if the empire was not won in a fit of absence of mind, it certainly did not grow according to any grand design.’
      • ‘By all accounts he was a good lecturer, although better in his younger days than towards the end of his life, when his absence of mind made him the victim of practical jokes.’
      • ‘The Victorian historian J.R. Seeley famously joked that the British had ‘conquered and peopled half the world in a fit of absence of mind.’’
      • ‘The idea that competent writers produce first-rate verse in a fit of absence of mind, not knowing it to be good, is altogether too absurd to be considered.’
      • ‘The American empire did not develop, as has been said of its British predecessor, in a fit of absence of mind.’
      pensiveness, concentration, engrossment, absorption, self-absorption, musing, thinking, thinking of other things, deep thought, brown study, brooding
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Late Middle English: from Old French, from Latin absentia, from absens, absent- (see absent).