Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

absorb

 - definition
 
 
Close

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Close

Thesaurus

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary entries. Click on the T button in an entry to review the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

more
verb [transitive] absorb pronunciation in British English /əbˈzɔː(r)b/ 
Word Forms
Close
present tense
I/you/we/theyabsorb
he/she/itabsorbs
present participleabsorbing
past tenseabsorbed
past participleabsorbed
  1. 1
    to take in a gas, liquid, or other substance

    The timber expands as it absorbs moisture.

    absorb something into something:

    Caffeine is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream.

    1. a.
      [often passive] to take in heat, light, or some other form of energy, instead of reflecting it

      The planes are fitted with a device that absorbs enemy radar signals.

  2. 2
    [often passive] to make a small group, organization etc become part of a larger one

    Most of the refugees were absorbed by the growing service sector.

    absorb something into something:

    Since the end of the war, France had endeavoured to absorb the Saar region into their country.

    be absorbed into something:

    After the war, the whole region was absorbed into the Roman Empire.

  3. 3
    to allow ideas, methods etc to become part of your own way of thinking or culture

    Over the centuries, they gradually absorbed Islamic ideas about design and architecture.

    His music has absorbed influences from all over the world.

  4. 6
    to reduce the harmful effects of a physical force

    Jump with your knees bent, so they absorb less impact.

    1. a.
      to deal with the harmful effects of a change, so that problems are avoided

      Oil companies say they will absorb these price rises, and not pass them on to customers.

  5. 7
    to use or need a lot of something, especially money

    Agricultural subsidies absorb about half the EU's income.

Open Dictionary

selfie stick

an expandable stick which you attach to a mobile phone or camera to help you take a selfie …

add a word

Blog

A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog