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[ab-suh ns] /ˈæb səns/
state of being away or not being present:
I acted as supervisor in his absence. Your absence was noted on the records.
period of being away:
an absence of several weeks.
failure to attend or appear when expected.
lack; deficiency:
the absence of proof.
inattentiveness; preoccupation; absent-mindedness:
absence of mind.
Origin of absence
1350-1400; Middle English < Middle French < Latin absentia. See absent, -ia
1. presence. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for absences
  • Plus the home needed to be easily secured for long absences.
  • Holes and intersections are both absences, empty places, disappointing to tourists of both the regular and the hacker variety.
  • Members will stop covering unfilled posts and absences for more than three days.
  • But the week of absences also offers a less obvious lesson.
  • Her husband's crazy hours and long absences impose a hefty burden on her and on their children.
  • These, he says, are proven to raise productivity and reduce absences through sickness.
  • But none of these absences would make for a better business climate.
  • And while the halls are once again filled with students, there are some absences.
  • After three absences, parents began receiving letters.
  • Eventually his prolonged globetrotting absences took a toll on family life.
British Dictionary definitions for absences


the state of being away
the time during which a person or thing is away
the fact of being without something; lack
Word Origin
C14: via Old French from Latin absentia, from absēns a being away
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for absences



late 14c., from Old French absence (14c.), from Latin absentia, noun of state from absentem (nominative absens), present participle of abesse "be away from, be absent," from ab- "away" (see ab-) + esse "to be" (see essence).

Absence makes the heart grow fonder
[Thomas Haynes Bayly (1797-1839) "Isle of Beauty"]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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absences in Medicine

absence ab·sence (āb'səns)
See petit mal.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Idioms and Phrases with absences


In addition to the idiom beginning with absence also see: conspicuous by its absence
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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