- Perfect in quality or nature; complete.
- Not mixed; pure. See Synonyms at pure.
a. Not limited by restrictions or exceptions; unconditional: absolute trust.
Unqualified in extent or degree; total: absolute silence.
See Usage Note at infinite
- Unconstrained by constitutional or other provisions: an absolute ruler.
- 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.
- Something that is absolute.
- Absolute Philosophy
a. Something regarded as the ultimate basis of all thought and being. Used with the.
b. Something regarded as independent of and unrelated to anything else.
Origin: Middle English absolut
Origin: , from Latin absolūtus, unrestricted
Origin: , past participle of absolvere, to absolve
Origin: : ab-, away; see ab-1
Origin: + solvere, to loosen; see leu- in Indo-European roots
Related Forms: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
By strict logic, absolute terms cannot be compared, as by more
or used with an intensive modifier, such as very
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. • Accordingly, the objection to modification of an absolute term like parallel
by degree seems absurd when it is used metaphorically, as in The difficulties faced by the Republicans are quite parallel to those that confronted the Democrats four years ago.
This statement describes the structural correspondence between two distinct situations, and concerns about the possibility of intersection seem remote indeed. In this sense, parallelism is clearly a matter of degree, so one should not hesitate to modify parallel
accordingly. See Usage Notes at equal