Definition of absent in English:

Share this entry



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
More example sentences
  • The other nurse, who continues to suffer ill health arising from the near assault, has been absent from work on a number of occasions.
  • Remarkably, however, nectar is absent from those species that produce pseudopollen.
  • 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?
away, off, out, not present, non-attending, truant;
not working, not at work, off duty, on holiday, on leave;
gone, missing, lacking, unavailable, non-existent;
Latin in absentia
informal AWOL
British informal bunking off, skiving
Australian/New Zealand informal wagging
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
More example sentences
  • She just looked at him, curious as to why his absent expression was now missing, replaced by a foolish something.
  • Ryan felt her finger trace around his hand in an absent manner and wanted nothing more than to squeeze her and never let go.
  • 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.
distracted, preoccupied, inattentive, vague, absorbed, abstracted, unheeding, oblivious, distrait, absent-minded;
daydreaming, dreamy, dreaming, far away, somewhere else, musing, wool-gathering, with one's head in the clouds, in a world of one's own, lost in thought, in a brown study;
blank, empty, vacant, vacuous
informal miles away, not with us


Pronunciation: /abˈsɛnt/
[with object] (absent oneself)
Stay or go away: halfway through the meal, he absented himself from the table
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • If your family celebrates Christmas, then absenting yourself for the day to go and read a book is simply not on.
  • Over the past few generations, economic migration has resulted in men absenting themselves from family life.
stay away, keep away, be absent, withdraw, retire, take one's leave, remove oneself, slip away, take oneself off, abscond
informal slope off


North American formal
Without: absent a willingness to negotiate, you can’t have collective bargaining
More example sentences
  • In the meantime, I am inclined to accept Fund's denials absent contrary evidence.
  • Yet, this is indeed possible absent a willingness to read critically and teach students to do likewise.
  • The Justices are perfectly entitled, should they think fit, to convict absent such evidence.


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

Words that rhyme with absent

accent, anent, ascent, assent, augment, bent, cement, cent, circumvent, consent, content, dent, event, extent, ferment, foment, forewent, forwent, frequent, gent, Ghent, Gwent, lament, leant, lent, meant, misrepresent, misspent, outwent, pent, percent, pigment, rent, scent, segment, sent, spent, stent, Stoke-on-Trent, Tashkent, tent, torment, Trent, underspent, underwent, vent, went

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ab¦sent

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.