Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The state of being away.
  • n. The time during which one is away.
  • n. Lack; want: an absence of leadership.
  • n. The state of being absent-minded; inattentiveness: absence of mind.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Lack of contact between blades.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A state of being absent or withdrawn from a place or from companionship; -- opposed to presence.
  • n. Want; destitution; withdrawal.
  • n. Inattention to things present; abstraction (of mind).

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The state of being absent; the state of being away or not present: as, speak no ill of one in his absence.
  • n. The period of being away or absent: as, an absence of several weeks or years.
  • n. The state of being wanting; non-existence at the place and time spoken of; want; lack: as, the absence of evidence.
  • n. Absent-mindedness; inattention to things present: a shortened form of absence of mind.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. failure to be present
  • n. the state of being absent
  • n. the time interval during which something or somebody is away
  • n. the occurrence of an abrupt, transient loss or impairment of consciousness (which is not subsequently remembered), sometimes with light twitching, fluttering eyelids, etc.; common in petit mal epilepsy

Etymologies

From Middle English absence, from Old French absence, ausence, from Latin absentia, from absēns ("absent"), present active participle of absum ("I am away or absent"), from ab ("from, away from") + sum ("I am"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • In woman very often voluptuous pleasure is entirely lacking; certainly such absence is far commoner in women than in men -- a condition of affairs which must on no account be confused with _absence of the sexual impulse_.

    The Sexual Life of the Child

  • He did note increased international impatience with what he termed the "absence" of a peace process.

    Obama: '67 borders reflect longstanding policy

  • The reports have faulted Rome for sending confusing messages to the Irish church about norms to be followed and, in general, for what it called the absence of a coherent set of canon laws and rules to apply in cases of abuse.

    Pope 'Sorry' For Irish Abuse

  • Now, folks, this is what you call the absence of leadership.

    Rush Limbaugh and Mickey Kaus: Is anybody listening to Warren Buffett anymore?

  • Now, the fact that women are scarcely to be found exploring such projects says something about women; their absence is a significant absence, not an oversight on your part.

    Writing and Failure (Part 2) : Christian Bök : Harriet the Blog : The Poetry Foundation

  • But her absence is a recurring theme, as the NRSC points out in this document.

    Sound Politics: McGavick v. Cantwell Connelly and Balter

  • Baker battled personal problems for most of last season, consequently causing his long-term absence from the team.

    USATODAY.com

  • My husband and I aren't often apart, and never for more than 48 hours (I go with him if he has to travel for a while), so writing letters in his absence is a little hard.

    Letters at Home

  • Hawass said he was no longer able to protect the country's antiquities because of what he called the absence of police protection and because he was the victim of a campaign against him by senior officials at his ministry.

    The Seattle Times

  • The reports have faulted the Vatican for sending confusing messages to the Irish church about norms to be followed and, in general, for what it called the absence of a coherent set of canon laws and rules to apply in cases of abuse.

    ajc.com - News

Comments

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  • Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Get Absence!
    (Courtesy poet Steve Turner)

    September 27, 2008