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verb [transitive] absorb pronunciation in British English /əbˈzɔː(r)b/ 
Word Forms
present tense
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.

    Synonyms and related words for this sense of absorb
    Synonyms and related words for this sense of absorb
    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.

      Synonyms and related words for this sense of absorb
  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. 4
    to learn and understand new facts, so that they become part of your knowledge

    We had to absorb a lot of new information very quickly.

  5. 6
    to reduce the harmful effects of a physical force

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

    Synonyms and related words for this sense of absorb
    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.

  6. 7
    to use or need a lot of something, especially money

    Agricultural subsidies absorb about half the EU's income.


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