Absorb Ab*sorb", v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Absorbed}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Absorbing}.] [L. absorbere; ab + sorbere to suck in, akin to Gr. ?: cf. F. absorber.] 1. To swallow up; to engulf; to overwhelm; to cause to disappear as if by swallowing up; to use up; to include. ``Dark oblivion soon absorbs them all.'' --Cowper. [1913 Webster]

The large cities absorb the wealth and fashion. --W. Irving. [1913 Webster]

2. To suck up; to drink in; to imbibe; as a sponge or as the lacteals of the body. --Bacon. [1913 Webster]

3. To engross or engage wholly; to occupy fully; as, absorbed in study or the pursuit of wealth. [1913 Webster]

4. To take up by cohesive, chemical, or any molecular action, as when charcoal absorbs gases. So heat, light, and electricity are absorbed or taken up in the substances into which they pass. --Nichol. [1913 Webster]

Syn: To {Absorb}, {Engross}, {Swallow up}, {Engulf}.

Usage: These words agree in one general idea, that of completely taking up. They are chiefly used in a figurative sense and may be distinguished by a reference to their etymology. We speak of a person as absorbed (lit., drawn in, swallowed up) in study or some other employment of the highest interest. We speak of a person as ebgrossed (lit., seized upon in the gross, or wholly) by something which occupies his whole time and thoughts, as the acquisition of wealth, or the attainment of honor. We speak of a person (under a stronger image) as swallowed up and lost in that which completely occupies his thoughts and feelings, as in grief at the death of a friend, or in the multiplied cares of life. We speak of a person as engulfed in that which (like a gulf) takes in all his hopes and interests; as, engulfed in misery, ruin, etc. [1913 Webster]

That grave question which had begun to absorb the Christian mind -- the marriage of the clergy. --Milman. [1913 Webster]

Too long hath love engrossed Britannia's stage, And sunk to softness all our tragic rage. --Tickell. [1913 Webster]

Should not the sad occasion swallow up My other cares? --Addison. [1913 Webster]

And in destruction's river Engulf and swallow those. --Sir P. Sidney. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • absorb — 1 Absorb, imbibe, assimilate can all mean to take (something) in so as to become imbued with it or to make it a part of one’s being. The original meaning of absorb, to swallow up (both literally and figuratively), has been retained in spite of… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • absorb — ab‧sorb [əbˈsɔːb, əbˈzɔːb ǁ ɔːrb] verb [transitive] COMMERCE 1. if a large organization absorbs a smaller one, it takes control of it and makes it part of the organization: • The company was absorbed by IBM in 1995. absorb into • Several smaller… …   Financial and business terms

  • absorb — ab·sorb vt 1: to make (a right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution) applicable to the states 2 a: to bear or assume the burden of expenses were absorb ed by the company b: to lessen the tax liability for has other losses to absorb the income D. Q …   Law dictionary

  • absorb — [v1] physically take in a liquid blot, consume, devour, drink in, imbibe, ingest, ingurgitate, osmose, soak up, sop up*, sponge up*, suck in*, swallow, take in; concept 256 Ant. disperse, dissipate, eject, emit, exude, spew, vomit absorb [v2]… …   New thesaurus

  • absorb — (v.) early 15c., from M.Fr. absorber (O.Fr. assorbir, 13c.), from L. absorbere to swallow up, from ab from (see AB (Cf. ab )) + sorbere suck in, from PIE root *srebh to suck, absorb (Cf. Armenian arbi I drank, Gk …   Etymology dictionary

  • absorb — ► VERB 1) soak up (liquid or another substance). 2) take in (information). 3) assimilate or take over (something less powerful). 4) use up (time or resources). 5) reduce the effect or intensity of (sound or an impact). 6) (usu. as absorbed or …   English terms dictionary

  • absorb — [ab sôrb′, abzôrb′; əbsôrb′] vt. [L absorbere < ab , from + sorbere, to suck in: see SLURP] 1. to suck up [blotting paper absorbs ink] 2. to take up the full attention or energy of; engross 3. to take in and incorporate; assimilate 4. to… …   English World dictionary

  • absorb */*/ — UK [əbˈzɔː(r)b] / US [əbˈsɔrb] / US [əbˈzɔrb] verb [transitive] Word forms absorb : present tense I/you/we/they absorb he/she/it absorbs present participle absorbing past tense absorbed past participle absorbed 1) a) to take in a gas, liquid, or… …   English dictionary

  • absorb — 01. Children are like little sponges that seem to be able to [absorb] languages very quickly. 02. The course I took was very intensive, and I had a lot of information to [absorb] in a short time. 03. These diapers are very [absorbent], so your… …   Grammatical examples in English

  • absorb — [[t]əbzɔ͟ː(r)b[/t]] absorbs, absorbing, absorbed 1) VERB If something absorbs a liquid, gas, or other substance, it soaks it up or takes it in. [V n] Plants absorb carbon dioxide from the air and moisture from the soil... [be V ed into n] Refined …   English dictionary

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