Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To take (something) in through or as through pores or interstices.
  • transitive v. To occupy the full attention, interest, or time of; engross. See Synonyms at monopolize.
  • transitive v. To retain (radiation or sound, for example) wholly, without reflection or transmission.
  • transitive v. To take in; assimilate: immigrants who were absorbed into the social mainstream.
  • transitive v. To learn; acquire: "Matisse absorbed the lesson and added to it a new language of color” ( Peter Plagen).
  • transitive v. To receive (an impulse) without echo or recoil: a fabric that absorbs sound; a bumper that absorbs impact.
  • transitive v. To assume or pay for (a cost or costs).
  • transitive v. To endure; accommodate: couldn't absorb the additional hardships.
  • transitive v. To use up; consume: The project has absorbed all of our department's resources.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To assume or pay for as part of a commercial transaction.
  • v. To defray the costs.
  • v. To accept or purchase in quantity.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To swallow up; to engulf; to overwhelm; to cause to disappear as if by swallowing up; to use up; to include.
  • transitive v. To suck up; to drink in; to imbibe; as a sponge or as the lacteals of the body.
  • transitive v. To engross or engage wholly; to occupy fully.
  • transitive v. To take up by cohesive, chemical, or any molecular action, as when charcoal absorbs gases. So heat, light, and electricity are absorbed or taken up in the substances into which they pass.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To drink in; suck up; imbibe, as a sponge; take in by absorption, as the lacteals of the body; hence, to take up or receive in, as by chemical or molecular action, as when charcoal absorbs gases.
  • To swallow up; engulf; overwhelm: as, the sea absorbed the wreck.
  • To swallow up the identity or individuality of; draw in as a constituent part; incorporate: as, the empire absorbed all the small states.
  • To engross or engage wholly.
  • In medicine, to counteract or neutralize: as, magnesia absorbs acidity in the stomach.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. become imbued
  • v. cause to become one with
  • v. assimilate or take in
  • v. take in, also metaphorically
  • v. devote (oneself) fully to
  • v. take up mentally
  • v. take up, as of debts or payments
  • v. consume all of one's attention or time
  • v. suck or take up or in

Etymologies

Middle English, to swallow up, from Old French absorber, from Latin absorbēre : ab-, away; see ab-1 + sorbēre, to suck.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

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