English

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Etymology

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absent +‎ -ly

Pronunciation

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Adverb

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absently (comparative more absently, superlative most absently)

  1. In an absent-minded or abstracted manner. [From the late 18th century.]
    • 1773 June, P.L.B., “A Character”, in The Sentimental Magazine, page 179:
      When he is in company he will sit absently muttering over a heap of Arabick, or in a Ciceronian attitude, declaim with all the vehemency of eloquence []
    • 1891, Thomas Hardy, Tess of the d’Urbervilles, Phase the Fourth, Chapter 34,[1]
      [] his wife, flinging a shawl round her, had come to the outer room and was listening to the man's narrative, her eyes resting absently on the luggage and the drops of rain glistening upon it.
    • 1961, V. S. Naipaul, A House for Mr Biswas[2], Penguin, published 1992, Part One, Chapter 1, p. 38:
      Absently, he picked a dew-wet leaf from the hibiscus shrub, crushed it in his palm, put it in his mouth and came towards her, chewing.

Synonyms

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