in an absent-minded manner; inattentively.

1870–75; absent + -ly

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World English Dictionary
absently (ˈæbsəntlɪ)
in an absent-minded or preoccupied manner; inattentively

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Example sentences
He nudges the co-pilot, who absently toggles his own switch as he stifles a
As she walked absently toward the stove she took out a few tangles with her
He is smoking a pipe, which he holds to his mouth absently with his right hand.
He reached into his back pocket, brought out a handkerchief, and wiped absently
  at his cheeks with it.
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