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absent (oneself) from
To leave a place, often to avoid something. If my ex-boyfriend does come, I'm going to absent myself from the party.
absent (oneself) from (someone or something)
To avoid or stay away from someone or something. I had to absent myself from his presentation because the sight of him still makes me so angry.
absent without leave
Not present for a duty or situation without permission. The phrase is usually used in reference to military service, and is often abbreviated with the acronym "AWOL." The young soldier was arrested for being absent without leave.
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!
An otherwise intelligent person who often lacks common sense or forgets or overlooks important details. Louis is brilliant, but he's such an absent-minded professor when it comes to remembering to attend important meetings.
long absent, soon forgotten
The longer a person is not present, the easier they are to forget about. A: "Is Carrie really dating someone else now?" B: "You've been gone for months! Long absent, soon forgotten."
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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.
*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.
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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.