• (RP) IPA: /əbˈzɔːb/, /əbˈsɔːb/
  • (America) IPA: /æbˈsɔɹb/, /æbˈzɔɹb/, /əbˈsɔɹb/, /əbˈzɔɹb/

absorb (absorbs, present participle absorbing; past and past participle absorbed)

  1. (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.]
    • William Cowper:
      Dark oblivion soon absorbs them all.
    • Washington Irving:
      The large cities absorb the wealth and fashion.
  2. (transitive, obsolete) To engulf, as in water; to swallow up. [Attested from the late 15th century until the late 18th century.]
  3. (transitive) To suck up; to drink in; to imbibe, like a sponge or as the lacteals of the body; to chemically take in. [First attested in the early 17th century.]
  4. (transitive, physics, chemistry) To take in energy and convert it, as[First attested in the early 18th century.]
    1. (transitive, physics) in receiving a physical impact or vibration without recoil.
    2. (transitive, physics) in receiving sound energy without repercussion or echo.
    3. (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.
  5. (transitive) To engross or engage wholly; to occupy fully[First attested in the late 18th century.]
    • 1904, Kazimierz Waliszewski, translated by Lady Mary Loyd, Ivan the Terrible Part 2 Chapter 3
      Livonian affairs held him tight, and were to absorb him for many a year.
  6. (transitive) To occupy or consume time. [First attested in the mid 19th century.]
  7. (transitive) Assimilate mentally. [First attested in the late 19th century.]
  8. (transitive, business) To assume or pay for as part of a commercial transaction.
  9. (transitive) To defray the costs.
  10. (transitive) To accept or purchase in quantity.