First attested around 1425. From
Middle French , from absorber Old French ,from assorbir Latin ( absorbeō “ swallow up ”), from ( ab “ from ”) + ( sorbeō “ suck in, swallow ”); akin to Ancient Greek ( ῥοφέω rhophéō, “ sup up ”), Middle Irish ( srub “ snout ”), Lithuanian ( srēbti “ to sip ”). Compare French . absorber
absorb ( third-person singular simple present , absorbs present participle , absorbing simple past and past participle absorbed or ( archaic ) ) absorpt
( transitive ) To include so that it no longer has separate existence; to overwhelm; to cause to disappear as if by swallowing up; to incorporate; to assimilate; to take in and use up. [First attested around 1350 to 1470.]
( transitive , obsolete ) To engulf, as in water; to swallow up. [Attested from the late 15 th century until the late 18 th century.]
: 1879, Thomas Burnet, The Sacred Theory of the Earth
to be absorpt, or swallowed up, in a lake of fire and brimstone.
( transitive ) To suck up; to drink in; to imbibe; as a sponge or as the lacteals of the body; to chemically take in. [First attested in the early 17 th century.] 
( transitive , physics , chemistry ) To take in energy and convert it, as [First attested in the early 18 th century.]
( transitive , physics ) in receiving a physical impact or vibration without recoil.
( transitive , physics ) in receiving sound energy without repercussion or echo.
( transitive , physics ) taking in radiant energy and converting it to a different form of energy, like heat.
Heat, light, and electricity are absorbed in the substances into which they pass.
( transitive ) To engross or engage wholly; to occupy fully; as, absorbed in study or in the pursuit of wealth. [First attested in the late 18 th century.] 
( transitive ) To occupy or consume time. [First attested in the mid 19 th century.] 
( transitive ) Assimilate mentally. [First attested in the late 19 th century.] 
( transitive , business ) To assume or pay for as part of a commercial transaction.
( transitive ) To defray the costs.
( transitive ) To accept or purchase in quantity.
( to include so that it no longer has separate existence ) : assimilate, engulf, incorporate, swallow up, overwhelm
( to suck up or drink in ) : draw, drink in, imbibe, soak up, sop up, suck, suck up, steep, take in, take up
( to consume completely ) : use up
( to occupy fully ) : engage, engross, immerse, monopolize, occupy
( finance: to assume or pay for ) : assume, bear, pay for
to take in
( physics: to take up by chemical or physical action ) : emit
Derived terms Edit
to include so that it no longer has separate existence
to suck up or drink in
( 吸う すう, suu) Maori:
, miti , mimiti ngongo Norwegian:
absorbere (no) Portuguese:
absorver (pt) Russian:
поглощать (ru) ( impf pogloščát'), поглотить (ru) ( pf poglotít’), вбирать (ru) ( impf vbirát’), вобрать (ru) ( pf vobrát’), впитывать (ru) ( impf vpítyvat’), впитать (ru) ( pf vpitát’) Scottish Gaelic:
absorber (es) Swahili:
absorbera , (sv) sig, dra åt , fånga upp sig, suga i sig, suga till , suga upp ta upp (sv) Ukrainian:
поглина́ти ( impf pohlynáty), погли́нути ( pf pohlýnuty) Vietnamese:
please add this translation if you can Zulu:
, -munca , -munya -donsa
physics: to take up by chemical or physical action
finance: to assume or pay for
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.
Translations to be checked
↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 : 2003 , Brown, Lesley editor, The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 5th, Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-860575-7, page 9