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Forgetful or inattentive of everyday details or duties, possibly due to a preoccupation with other thoughts. My absent-minded housemate is always lost in composing new poems and never remembers to clean the house or take out the trash!


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.

long absent, soon forgotten

The longer a person is not present, the easier he or she is to forget about. A: "Is Carrie really dating someone else now?" B: "You've been gone for months! Long absent, soon forgotten."
See also: forgotten, long, soon

absent oneself from someone or something

to remain away from or avoid someone or some place. Fred absented himself from the meeting, which he was certain would be boring.
See also: absent

*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.
See also: absent, leave, without

absent-minded professor

a bumbling professor who overlooks everyday things. Fred is such an absent-minded professor. He'd forget his head if it wasn't screwed on.

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.
See also: absent, leave, without


(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.
References in periodicals archive ?
NAWABSHAH -- Commissioner Shaheed Benazirabad, Jamal Mustafa Syed, has directed to issue show cause notices for removal from services instead of warning and explanations letters to the teachers found absent from their duty during drive against ghost teachers.
In June 1994, the CSA was dealing with 4,900 absent mothers (3.
Absent, Anonymous and Vulnerable Witnesses in English, French and Italian Criminal Procedure
The Commissioner directed the headmasters of the two educational institutions to initiate disciplinary action against teachers and other staffers who remain absent from their duties.
It was claimed the CSA is to be replaced by a new unit with special powers to investigate the incomes of absent fathers, and to pay a cash bonus to single mothers who co-operated with it.
The limited space of the gallery complemented the artist's intentions: the shadows of the absent works, subtly threatening, looked like silhouettes of animals, or the scenery in an old Expressionist film.
MITHI -- Sindh Minister for Livestock, Jam Khan Shoro has suspended 10 employees of his Department who were found absent from their duties despite a droughtlike situation in the district.
Among those absent were Superior Court Judge Frederick A.
Flubber'' is a not-too-intolerable remake of Disney's gimmick comedy ``The Absent Minded Professor.
ISLAMABAD, June 05, 2011 (Balochistan Times): A list of Forty-nine absent parliamentarians from the Budget sessions including that of PPP and its allies has been sent to the President and Prime Minister.
Horton was elected on a 4-0 vote with three board members absent.
QUETTA, May 02, 2011 (Balochistan Times): A meeting chaired by Deputy Commissioner Quetta Cap (retd) Muhammad Tariq Zehri has urged absent doctors to ensure their attendance at their respective hospitals and health centers.
It's important not only for a child to be in school, but when a child is absent, it needs to be recorded properly.
QUETTA, April 11, 2011 (Balochistan Times): A meeting chaired by Deputy Commissioner Quetta Cap (retd) Muhammad Tariq Zehri has urged absent doctors to ensure their attendance at their respective hospitals and health centers.
Sources say that out of 38 Federal Ministers, 8 were absent while out of 18 State Ministers, 6 were absent from the Joint Session of the Parliament during tabling of Balochistan Package.