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From Latin absorbēns, present active participle of absorbeō (absorb).



absorbent (comparative more absorbent, superlative most absorbent)

  1. Having the ability or tendency to absorb; able to soak up liquid easily; absorptive. [First attested in the early 18th century.][1]
    Those paper towels were amazingly absorbent. That was quite a spill.

Derived termsEdit



absorbent (plural absorbents)

  1. Anything which absorbs. [First attested in the early 18th century.][1]
    • 1839, Charles Darwin, The Voyage of the Beagle, 1972, Forgotten Books, page 225,
      In the Southern Ocean the winter is not so excessively cold, but the summer is far less hot, for the clouded sky seldom allows the sun to warm the ocean, itself a bad absorbent of heat: and hence the mean temperature of the year [] is low.
  2. (physiology, pluralized, now rare) The vessels by which the processes of absorption are carried on, as the lymphatics in animals, the extremities of the roots in plants. [First attested in the mid 18th century.][1]
  3. (medicine) Any substance which absorbs and neutralizes acid fluid in the stomach and bowels, as magnesia, chalk, etc.; also a substance, e.g., iodine, which acts on the absorbent vessels so as to reduce enlarged and indurated parts.
  4. (chemistry) A liquid used in the process of separating gases or volatile liquids, in oil refining.


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  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 “absorbent” in Lesley Brown, editor-in-chief; William R. Trumble and Angus Stevenson, editors, The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles, 5th edition, Oxford; New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, 2002, ISBN 978-0-19-860457-0, page 9.



absorbent (masculine and feminine plural absorbents)

  1. absorbent


absorbent m (plural absorbents)

  1. absorbent

Related termsEdit