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.’
    • ‘So as the programme drew to a close his absence was felt more than ever before.’
    • ‘Some of them had not been seen for months, if not years, and one in ten staff was unavailable because of absence.’
    • ‘Almost half were with their parents, who made some excuses for their absence.’
    • ‘He explains his absence from school by saying he is on a part-time timetable.’
    • ‘It was only when undertakers called at the hospital to collect the baby that his absence was discovered.’
    • ‘Some more of the team had arrived during our absence, and looked at the pictures of the party.’
    • ‘He later admitted in a press conference yesterday that his absence was intentional.’
    • ‘That night she climbed into bed just as conscious of Will's absence now as she had been the night after he died.’
    • ‘In my father's absence he likes to visit my mother, most of the time for no reason.’
    • ‘Downsizing produced an increased risk of sickness absence, in line with earlier findings.’
    • ‘The jury was sent home until Monday after being told legal submissions will be made in their absence today.’
    • ‘Why is it that we can only appreciate what we have when we experience its absence?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Since then, the earl had seen people dying in the great plague, the clergy conspicuous by its absence.’
    • ‘Yet in a play that explores spiritual emptiness, the sense of absence is strangely appropriate.’
    • ‘It alerts the employee's manager and supplies statistics about absence to the council.’
    • ‘She had been in New York for the past few weeks and knew little of the scheming that was going on in her absence.’
    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’
      • ‘Wouldn't the employer want to suffer one day of not having an employee than having the potential of multiple absences in one day?’
      • ‘The under-17 age squad was badly affected by holidays and absences but still turned in some great performances.’
      • ‘With people keen to enjoy the heat, the number of unauthorised absences from work were reported to be high.’
      • ‘However, she came under increasing criticism for her frequent absences while running her other company in Santiago de Chile.’
      • ‘She had completed freshman year, and only had to make up a couple of courses over the summer to makeup her absences.’
      • ‘All school absences should be explained in writing to your child's teacher.’
      • ‘Anderson's absences caused by knee problems down through the years have not proved the handicaps they could have been.’
      • ‘It revealed more than 60 per cent of firms experienced absences last year due to stress at work.’
      • ‘Even temporary absences from them seemed to suggest, in her darkest moments, the immutable separation of death.’
      • ‘He added that his school had already greatly reduced the numbers of unauthorised absences to well below the national average.’
      • ‘Headteacher Gillian James said the protest was good-natured but warned that future absences would be punished.’
      • ‘If a child has ten unauthorised absences during a six-week period then a parent is sent a fixed penalty notice warning.’
      • ‘Rex continues to preach once each quarter and happily stands in for any absences.’
      • ‘All council staff know that the majority of absences are left uncovered.’
      • ‘You should keep records of absences and introduce a trigger mechanism that alerts you to look into regular absenteeism and the reasons for it.’
      • ‘He has undoubtedly made up for that absence and has drawn warm praise from his manager and admiration from the fans.’
      • ‘In 2001 teachers in Doncaster and London refused to cover for absences any longer than three days.’
      • ‘The following year I implemented this regime and the absences reduced to two days in a whole year.’
      • ‘The innovative scheme could be used to send revision questions and exam timetables, or chase-up homework and absences.’
      • ‘The only thing that ever gets him down is prolonged absences from three-year-old daughter Zoe, who still lives in Holland.’
    2. 1.2absence of The nonexistence or lack of.
      ‘she found his total absence of facial expression disconcerting’
      • ‘Yes, the almost total absence of rural policing is a major problem in urgent need of a solution.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The absence of a smoke detector in the room has prompted an immediate investigation.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘Courts also have the option of hearing the case in the absence of the defendant, he warned.’
      • ‘In the absence of pictorial reality we reach instinctively for clues to some sort of story.’
      • ‘How could you have possibly not noticed the absence of such a fundamental requirement?’
      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, and for Colchester troops returning from peace-keeping duties 3,500 miles away from home it seems to be true.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘So tonight you're going to catch your breath and put to test that absence makes the heart grow fonder theory.’
      • ‘You know what they say folks, 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.’
      • ‘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.’
  • absence of mind

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

      • ‘But I have nevertheless gone straight to the bathroom, not in unfreedom of will but in ridiculous absence of mind.’
      • ‘I can't believe I actually had the absence of mind to even start caring for you, because look where it got me.’
      • ‘The American empire did not develop, as has been said of its British predecessor, in a fit of absence of mind.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘While there were periods of indecision in the conquest of this corner of the Empire, there was no absence of mind.’
      • ‘As a professed historian, he exhibits an inexcusable 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).