a. Unqualified in extent or degree; total: absolute silence.
b. Not limited by restrictions or exceptions: an absolute right.
c. Being fully such; utter: an absolute fool.
d. Unconstrained by constitutional or other provisions: an absolute ruler.
- Not mixed; pure: absolute oxygen.
- Not to be doubted or questioned; positive: absolute proof.
a. Of, relating to, or being a word, phrase, or construction that is isolated syntactically from the rest of a sentence, as the referee having finally arrived in The referee having finally arrived, the game began.
b. Of, relating to, or being a transitive verb when its object is implied but not stated. For example, inspires in We have a teacher who inspires is an absolute verb.
c. Of, relating to, or being an adjective or pronoun that stands alone when the noun it modifies is being implied but not stated. For example, in Theirs were the best, theirs is an absolute pronoun and best is an absolute adjective.
a. Relating to measurements or units of measurement derived from fundamental units of length, mass, and time.
b. Relating to absolute temperature.
- Law Complete and unconditional; final: an absolute divorce.
- Something that is absolute.
- Absolute Philosophy
a. Something regarded as the ultimate and transcendent basis of all thought and being. Used with the.
b. Something regarded as exceeding or transcending everything else to the point of being independent and unrelated.
Origin of absolute
Middle English absolut from
Latin absolūtus unrestricted past participle of absolvere to absolve ab- away
; see ab- 1
. solvere to loosen
; see leu-
in Indo-European roots.
Usage Note: An absolute term denotes a property that a thing either can or cannot have. Such terms include absolute itself, chief, complete, perfect, prime, unique, and mathematical terms such as equal and parallel. By strict logic, absolute terms cannot be compared, as by more and most, or used with an intensive modifier, such as very or so. Something either is complete or it isn't—it cannot be more complete than something else. Consequently, sentences such as He wanted to make his record collection more complete, and You can improve the sketch by making the lines more perpendicular, are often criticized as illogical. Such criticism confuses pure logic or a mathematical ideal with the rough approximations that are frequently needed in ordinary language. Certainly in some contexts we should use words strictly logically; otherwise teaching mathematics would be impossible. But we often think in terms of a scale or continuum rather than in clearly marked either/or categories. Thus, we may think of a statement as either logically true or false, but we also know that there are degrees of truthfulness and falsehood. Similarly, there may be degrees of completeness to a record collection, and some lines may be more perpendicular—that is, they may more nearly approximate mathematical perpendicularity—than other lines. See Usage Note at equal. See Usage Note at unique.
(comparative more absolute or absoluter, superlative most absolute or absolutest)
- (archaic) Complete in itself; perfect. [First attested around 1350 to 1470.]
- (grammar) Not immediately dependent on the other parts of the sentence; as[First attested around 1350 to 1470.]
- (of a case form) syntactically connected to the rest of the sentence in an atypical manner; ablative absolute; nominative absolute; genitive absolute; accusative absolute. [First attested around 1350 to 1470.]
- standing by itself in a loose syntactical connection, and qualifying the sentence as a whole rather than any single word in it. [First attested around 1350 to 1470.]
- Anyhow in 'anyhow, I made it home' is an absolute.
- (of an adjective or possessive pronoun) lacking a modified substantive. [First attested around 1350 to 1470.]
- Hungry in 'Feed the hungry.'
- (comparative, superlative) expressing a relative term without a definite comparison.'[First attested around 1350 to 1470.]
- Older in 'An older person should be treated with respect.
- having no direct object. [First attested around 1350 to 1470.]
- Kill in 'If looks could kill...'
- (Ireland, Wales) an inflected verb that is not preceded by any number of articles or compounded with a preverb. [First attested around 1350 to 1470.]
- Unrestricted; in sole control; possessing absolute power; independent, as in ownership or authority. [First attested in the late 15th century.]
- Pure; unmixed; as, absolute alcohol. [First attested in the mid 16th century.]
- (figuratively) Complete; utter; outright; unmitigated; entire; total; not qualified or diminished in any way; unrestricted; without limitation. [First attested in the late 16th century.]
- When caught, he told an absolute lie.
- Unconditional; free from any conditions, limitations, and relations; [First attested in the mid 16th century.]
- having unlimited power, without limits set by a constitution, parliament, or other means. [First attested in the mid 16th century.]
- proceeding from or characteristic of an absolute ruler. [First attested in the mid 16th century.]
- Absolutist; arbitrary; despotic. [First attested in the mid 16th century.]
- Real; actual. [First attested in the early 17th century.]
- (archaic) Certain; free from doubt or uncertainty, as a person or prediction. [First attested in the early 17th century.]
- Positive; unquestionable; peremptory. [First attested in the early 17th century.]
- Free from conditional limitations; operating or existing in full under all circumstances without variation. [First attested in the early 17th century.]
- (philosophy) Existing, able to be thought of, or able to be viewed without relation to other things. [First attested in the late 18th century.]
- absolute motion
- absolute time or space
- Absolute rights and duties are such as pertain to man in a state of nature as contradistinguished from relative rights and duties, or such as pertain to him in his social relations.
- Authoritative; peremptory.
- (philosophy) Fundamental; ultimate; intrinsic; free from the variability and error natural to the human way of thinking and perception. [First attested in the late 18th century.]
- (physics) Independent of arbitrary units of measurement not comparative or relative as,
- having reference to or derived from the simplest manner from the fundamental units of mass, time, and length.
- relating to the absolute temperature scale.
- (law) Complete; unconditional; final; without encumbrances; not liable to change or cancellation.
- (education) Pertaining to a grading system based on the knowledge of the individual and not on the comparative knowledge of the group of students.
- (art) Concerned entirely with expressing beauty and feelings, lacking meaningful reference.
- (dance) Utilizing the body to express ideas, independent of music and costumes.
- (mathematics) Indicating an expression that is true for all real number; unconditional.
- That which is independent of context-dependent interpretation, inviolate, fundamental. [First attested in the mid 19th century.]
- moral absolutes
- Anything that is absolute. [First attested in the mid 19th century.]
- (geometry) In a plane, the two imaginary circular points at infinity; in space of three dimensions, the imaginary circle at infinity.
- (philosophy, usually capitalized) A realm which exists without reference to anything else; that which can be imagined purely by itself; absolute ego.
- (philosophy, usually capitalized) The unity of spirit and nature; God.
- (philosophy, usually capitalized) The whole of reality; the totality to which everything is reduced.
- Concentrated natural flower oil, used for perfumes.
- (not dependent on anything else): Usually preceded by the word the.
- (all, philosophy): Usually preceded by the word the
First attested around 1380. From Middle English absolut, from Middle French absolut, from Latin absolūtus (“unconditional; unfettered; completed”), perfect passive participle of absolvō (“loosen, set free, complete”), from Latin ab (“away”) + solvo (“to loose”). Influenced in part by Old French absolu. Compare absolve.
- (philosophy) That which is totally unconditioned, unrestricted, pure, perfect, or complete; that which can be thought of without relation to others. [First attested in the mid 19th century.]