Try Our Apps


Pore Over vs. Pour Over


[ab-sawrb, -zawrb] /æbˈsɔrb, -ˈzɔrb/
verb (used with object)
to suck up or drink in (a liquid); soak up:
A sponge absorbs water.
to swallow up the identity or individuality of; incorporate:
The empire absorbed many small nations.
to involve the full attention of; to engross or engage wholly:
so absorbed in a book that he did not hear the bell.
to occupy or fill:
This job absorbs all of my time.
to take up or receive by chemical or molecular action:
Carbonic acid is formed when water absorbs carbon dioxide.
to take in without echo, recoil, or reflection:
to absorb sound and light; to absorb shock.
to take in and utilize:
The market absorbed all the computers we could build. Can your brain absorb all this information?
to pay for (costs, taxes, etc.):
The company will absorb all the research costs.
Archaic. to swallow up.
Origin of absorb
1480-90; < Latin absorbēre, equivalent to ab- ab- + sorbēre to suck in, swallow
Related forms
absorbable, adjective
absorbability, noun
nonabsorbability, noun
nonabsorbable, adjective
overabsorb, verb (used with object)
preabsorb, verb
reabsorb, verb (used with object)
unabsorbable, adjective
Can be confused
absorb, adsorb.
2. assimilate, consume, devour, engulf; destroy. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for absorb
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • By degrees, she seemed to absorb all her companion's life and brightness.

    Old Kensington Miss Thackeray
  • Does she suppose wounds of different kinds to "absorb" each other, so to speak?

    A Tangled Tale Lewis Carroll
  • Children are little human sponges; they absorb the atmosphere of their environment.

    My Actor-Husband Anonymous
  • And it is as important to help him express as to help him absorb.

    College Teaching Paul Klapper
  • And, too, human minds vary in their inherent ability to absorb understanding.

    What The Left Hand Was Doing Gordon Randall Garrett
British Dictionary definitions for absorb


/əbˈsɔːb; -ˈzɔːb/
verb (transitive)
to soak or suck up (liquids)
to engage or occupy (the interest, attention, or time) of (someone); engross
to receive or take in (the energy of an impact)
(physics) to take in (all or part of incident radiated energy) and retain the part that is not reflected or transmitted
to take in or assimilate; incorporate
to accept and find a market for (goods, etc)
to pay for as part of a commercial transaction: the distributor absorbed the cost of transport
(chem) to cause to undergo a process in which one substance, usually a liquid or gas, permeates into or is dissolved by a liquid or solid: porous solids absorb water, hydrochloric acid absorbs carbon dioxide Compare adsorb
Derived Forms
absorbability, noun
absorbable, adjective
Word Origin
C15: via Old French from Latin absorbēre to suck, swallow, from ab-1 + sorbēre to suck
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for absorb

early 15c., from Middle French absorber (Old French assorbir, 13c.), from Latin absorbere "to swallow up," from ab- "from" (see ab-) + sorbere "suck in," from PIE root *srebh- "to suck, absorb" (cf. Armenian arbi "I drank," Greek rhopheo "to sup greedily up, gulp down," Lithuanian srebiu "to drink greedily"). Figurative meaning "to completely grip (one's) attention" is from 1763. Related: Absorbed; absorbing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
absorb in Medicine

absorb ab·sorb (əb-sôrb', -zôrb')
v. ab·sorbed, ab·sorb·ing, ab·sorbs

  1. To take in by absorption.

  2. To reduce the intensity of transmitted light.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for absorb

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for absorb

Scrabble Words With Friends