Definition of absence in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈabs(ə)ns/


[mass noun]
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
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • So as the programme drew to a close his absence was felt more than ever before.
non-attendance, non-appearance, absenteeism;
truancy, playing truant, truanting;
leave, holiday, vacation, sabbatical
British informal skiving, bunking off
North American informal playing hookey, goofing off, ditching
Australian/New Zealand  playing the wag, wagging
1.1 [count noun] An occasion or period of being away from a place or person: repeated absences from school
More example sentences
  • If a child has ten unauthorised absences during a six-week period then a parent is sent a fixed penalty notice warning.
  • However, she came under increasing criticism for her frequent absences while running her other company in Santiago de Chile.
  • The under-17 age squad was badly affected by holidays and absences but still turned in some great performances.
1.2 (absence of) The non-existence or lack of: she found his total absence of facial expression disconcerting
More example sentences
  • In the absence of a decent World Cup anthem, we invited you to pen an official Guardian song.
  • Mr Wilkins said the absence of a cinema in the town is a commonly raised issue.
  • Yes, the almost total absence of rural policing is a major problem in urgent need of a solution.
lack, want, non-existence, unavailability, deficiency, deprivation, dearth;
omission, exclusion, default;
need, privation, famine, drought, poverty
failing, in default of, lacking, wanting, notwithstanding, without



absence makes the heart grow fonder

proverb You feel more affection for those you love when parted from them.
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • 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 for Colchester troops returning from peace-keeping duties 3,500 miles away from home it seems to be true.

absence of mind

Failure to concentrate on or remember what one is doing: his reply conveyed his absence of mind
More example sentences
  • 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 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.


Late Middle English: from Old French, from Latin absentia, from absens, absent- (see absent).

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ab|sence

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