Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Acronyms, Wikipedia.
acronym Absent without leave. Having gone missing suddenly and without warning. It is originally a military phrase for one who leaves his or her post or duties without permission but without intention to desert. In colloquial usage, it can be used as an adverb or an adjective. The printer from the third floor is AWOL, does anyone know where it went? Jerry went AWOL after a few drinks. None of us even knew he had left until half an hour later.
*absent without leave
absent from a military unit without permission; absent from anything without permission. (AWOL is an abbreviation. This is a serious offense in the military. *Typically: be ~; go ~.) The soldier was taken away by the military police because he was absent without leave.
to become absent without leave. (Originally military.) Private Smith went AWOL last Wednesday. Now he's in a military prison. Tom went AWOL and finally we had to fire him.
See also: AWOL
absent without leave
Away without permission or explanation, as in Her daughter went to the mall but got in trouble for being absent without leave. The term and its acronym, AWOL, originated in the American military during World War I for soldiers absent from duty without permission (leave). It later was transferred to civilian situations, as in John didn't just cut his Tuesday classes; he went AWOL.
AWOL(e ˈdəblæju ˈo ˈɛl and ˈewɑl)
mod. absent without leave; escaped from prison or from the military. (Acronym or initialism.) If I don’t get back to the base, they’re going to think I’m AWOL.