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.
- 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 transactionthe 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 solidporous solids absorb water; hydrochloric acid absorbs carbon dioxide Compare adsorb
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.
- To take in by absorption.
- To reduce the intensity of transmitted light.