AskDefine | Define absorb

Dictionary Definition



1 become imbued; "The liquids, light, and gases absorb"
2 take up mentally; "he absorbed the knowledge or beliefs of his tribe" [syn: assimilate, ingest, take in]
3 take up, as of debts or payments; "absorb the costs for something" [syn: take over]
4 take in, also metaphorically; "The sponge absorbs water well"; "She drew strength from the minister's words" [syn: suck, imbibe, soak up, sop up, suck up, draw, take in, take up]
5 cause to become one with; "The sales tax is absorbed into the state income tax"
6 suck or take up or in; "A black star absorbs all matter" [syn: take in] [ant: emit]
7 engross (oneself) fully; "He immersed himself into his studies" [syn: steep, immerse, engulf, plunge, engross, soak up]
8 assimilate or take in; "The immigrants were quickly absorbed into society"
9 engage or engross wholly; "Her interest in butterflies absorbs her completely" [syn: engross, engage, occupy]

User Contributed Dictionary



15th Century, via , from Latin absorbere, which is formed from prefix ab-, + sorbere, akin to Greek; compare French absorber.


  • a RP /əbˈzɔːb/; /əbˈsɔːb/
  • a US /æbˈzɔːrb/; /æbˈsɔːrb/


  1. To include so that it no longer has separate existence; to swallow up; to engulf; to overwhelm; to cause to disappear as if by swallowing up; to use up; to incorporate; to assimilate.
    • Dark oblivion soon absorbs them all. - Cowper
    • The large cities absorb the wealth and fashion. - W. Irving
  2. To suck up; to drink in; to imbibe; as a sponge or as the lacteals of the body. - Bacon
  3. To learn
  4. To engross or engage wholly; to occupy fully; as, absorbed in study or in the pursuit of wealth.
  5. To consume completely.
  6. To endure.
  7. To take up by chemical or physical action.
    Heat, light, and electricity are absorbed in the substances into which they pass.
  8. To assume or pay for as part of a commercial transaction.



to include so that it no longer has separate existence (1)
to suck up or drink in (2)
to learn (3)
to occupy fully (4)
to consume completely (5)
to endure (6)
physics: to take up by chemical or physical action (7)
finance: to assume or pay for (8)

Extensive Definition

Absorption may refer to:

Chemistry and biology

Physics and mechanical engineering

Mathematics and economics

  • Absorption law, in mathematics, an identity linking a pair of binary operations
  • Absorption (economics), the total demand of an economy for goods and services both from within and without

See also

  • Adsorption, the formation of a liquid or gas film on a solid surface.
  • Digestion, the uptake of substances by the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Flow (psychology), a state of total mental "absorption".
absorb in Catalan: Absorció
absorb in Czech: Absorpce
absorb in German: Absorption
absorb in Spanish: Absorción
absorb in French: Absorption
absorb in Galician: Absorción
absorb in Japanese: 吸収
absorb in Norwegian Nynorsk: Absorpsjon
absorb in Polish: Absorpcja
absorb in Portuguese: Absorção
absorb in Romanian: Absorbţie
absorb in Slovak: Absorpcia
absorb in Finnish: Absorptio
absorb in Tagalog: Absorsyon

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

ablate, absorb the attention, adsorb, appreciate, apprehend, appropriate, arrest, assimilate, be with one, bleed white, blot, blot up, burn up, buy up, catch, catch on, catch up in, charm, chemisorb, chemosorb, come uppermost, comprehend, conceive, concern, consume, corner, deplete, dig, digest, drain, drain of resources, draw in, drink, drink in, drink up, eat, eat up, embarrass, embody, enchant, engage, engage the attention, engage the mind, engage the thoughts, engross, engross the mind, engross the thoughts, enmesh, entangle, enthrall, erode, exercise, exhaust, expend, fascinate, fathom, fill the mind, filter in, finish, finish off, follow, get, get hold of, get the drift, get the idea, get the picture, gobble, gobble up, grab, grasp, grip, have, have it taped, hold, hold spellbound, hold the interest, hypnotize, imbibe, imbue, immerse, implicate, impoverish, impregnate, incorporate, infiltrate, infuse, ingest, interest, involve, involve the interest, ken, know, learn, master, mesmerize, metabolize, monopolize, monopolize the thoughts, obsess, obsess the mind, occupy, occupy the attention, occupy the mind, osmose, percolate in, permeate, predigest, preoccupy, read, realize, savvy, seep in, seize, seize the meaning, seize the mind, sense, sew up, slurp up, soak in, soak up, sorb, spellbind, spend, sponge, squander, suck dry, suck into, swallow, swallow up, swill up, take, take in, take up, tangle, understand, use up, waste away, wear away
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