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.

1350–1400; Middle English < Middle French < Latin absentia. See absent, -ia

1. presence.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To absences
World English Dictionary
absence (ˈæbsəns)
1.  the state of being away
2.  the time during which a person or thing is away
3.  the fact of being without something; lack
[C14: via Old French from Latin absentia, from absēns a being away]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

late 14c., from O.Fr. absence, from L. absentia, from absens, prp. of abesse "be away," from ab- "away" + esse "to be."
"Absence makes the heart grow fonder"
[Thomas Haynes Bayly (1797-1839) "Isle of Beauty"]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

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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Example sentences
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.
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