1. Being away from a place; withdrawn from a place; not present. "Expecting absent friends."

2. Not existing; lacking; as, the part was rudimental or absent.

3. Inattentive to what is passing; absent-minded; preoccupied; as, an absent air. "What is commonly called an absent man is commonly either a very weak or a very affected man." (Chesterfield)

Synonyms: Absent, Abstracted.

These words both imply a want of attention to surrounding objects. We speak of a man as absent when his thoughts wander unconsciously from present scenes or topics of discourse; we speak of him as abstracted when his mind (usually for a brief period) is drawn off from present things by some weighty matter for reflection. Absence of mind is usually the result of loose habits of thought; abstraction commonly arises either from engrossing interests and cares, or from unfortunate habits of association.

Origin: F, fr. Absens, absentis, p. Pr. Of abesse to be away from; ab + esse to be. Cf. Sooth.

(01 Mar 1998)

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