Definition of absorb in English:

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Pronunciation: /əbˈzɔːb/
Pronunciation: /əbˈsɔːb/


[with object]
1Take in or soak up (energy or a liquid or other substance) by chemical or physical action: buildings can be designed to absorb and retain heat steroids are absorbed into the bloodstream
More example sentences
  • Molecules may change their rotational energy levels by absorbing energy from electromagnetic radiation in the microwave region of the spectrum.
  • Carbon dioxide primarily absorbs infrared energy emitted by the Earth, thus contributing to the greenhouse effect and warming the Earth's surface and the atmosphere.
  • Electrons in the mineral absorb the energy from the activator and become excited.
soak up, suck up, draw up/in, take up/in, blot up, mop up, sponge up, sop up
1.1Take in and understand fully (information, ideas, or experience): she absorbed the information in silence
More example sentences
  • Michael understood that he would never fully absorb the French experience if language were a barrier.
  • To a certain extent, all through life we absorb information we understand, or about which we care, and filter the rest.
  • He is a bright young man who absorbs information and experiences like a sponge.
assimilate, digest, ingest, take in, imbibe, drink in, familiarize oneself with;
comprehend, grasp, learn, understand, master
1.2Take control of (a smaller or less powerful entity) and make it a part of a larger one: the family firm was absorbed into a larger group
More example sentences
  • But Sir John's mantra is worth revisiting at a time when another of Scotland's institutions is absorbed into a larger entity.
  • On Friday, the heads of the two banks announced they had agreed to merge their banks by forming a new entity that will absorb the two banks by June next year.
  • He said the slate would consist of candidates who were not willing to sell out the UNC to become absorbed into some other political entity.
incorporate, assimilate, integrate, appropriate, take in, subsume, include, co-opt, swallow up
1.3Use or take up (time or resources): arms spending absorbs roughly two per cent of the national income
More example sentences
  • Too often, remedial actions tend to absorb resources to the detriment of preventive measures.
  • The report says that these demands are absorbing resources, thereby reducing funds for community services that could help to contain rising hospital admissions.
  • The actions of a few uncontrolled patients rebound on the rest of us, absorbing scarce resources and driving staff from the NHS.
use (up), consume, take up, occupy;
waste, squander, go through, deplete, drain, exhaust, swallow up
1.4Take up and reduce the effect or intensity of (sound or an impact): deep-pile carpets absorbed all sound of the outside world
More example sentences
  • For instance, ceiling tiles that absorb sounds and reduce noise levels can cost about the same as materials that are less sound-absorbent.
  • With residue, the raindrop impact is absorbed and erosion is reduced.
  • In an open office, its acoustic function is to absorb sound and reduce the reflection of sounds back down into the office space.
deaden, soften, cushion;
reduce, decrease, lessen;
soak up
2 (often be absorbed in) Take up the attention of (someone); interest greatly: she sat in an armchair, absorbed in a book the work absorbed him and continued to make him happy
More example sentences
  • I love being so absorbed in a book that I don't hear the things going on around me.
  • He hadn't heard her come up the stairs or enter the apartment he was so absorbed in his book.
  • She managed to make it look as if she were absorbed in the book when John threw her door open.
preoccupy, engross, captivate, occupy, engage;
rivet, grip, hold, interest, intrigue, immerse, involve, enthral, spellbind, fascinate, arrest, monopolize;
distract, divert, entertain, amuse



Pronunciation: /əbˈzɔːbɪdli/
Pronunciation: /əbˈsɔːbɪdli/
Example sentences
  • I turned around in surprise, looked at the other shoppers, but they were just filling their carts as usual, absorbedly studying the produce stalls.


Pronunciation: /əbˈzɔːbə/
Pronunciation: /əbˈsɔːbə/
Example sentences
  • Passive absorbers of information or active creators of knowledge?
  • I don't think you would recommend a curry a day for headaches but it is possible that someone with a headache who is a very good absorber of salicylic acid might find it went away if they had a vindaloo.
  • Ian is very analytical and an enormous absorber of information, and very argumentative.


Late Middle English: from Latin absorbere, from ab- 'from' + sorbere 'suck in'.

Words that rhyme with absorb

bedaub, daub, orb, sorb

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ab¦sorb

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