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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!

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."
See also: forgotten, long, soon

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.
See also: absent

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.
See also: absent, leave, without

absent-minded professor

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.

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.
See also: absent

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
References in periodicals archive ?
Basic education minister Saini said they would conduct an inquiry to know how many teachers received salaries even after being absent from duty.
That progress was duly delivered when Absent Pleasure collected on his second start at Newmarket, when he beat Dewhurst-bound supplementary entry Huntdown by a short head, with Kingship Spirit, a recent Newmarket scorer, in third.
The same questionnaire (in English) was used for both present and absent students, and it was anonymous and self-administered.
In the technology articles, the basic idea was that people were physically present, but because of their technological absorption, they were also absent.
Its "private sector experience," Tatiana Nenova and Tim Harford write, "suggests that it may be easier than is commonly thought for basic systems of finance and some infrastructure services to function where government is extremely weak or absent.
99) tells of a girl who longs for an absent mother.
The genes are "all absent in large branches of the tree of life" says Klein.
Teachers who will be absent begin calling my home at 5:30 to 6 a.
PARIS -- An absent nasal bone at 11-14 weeks' gestation is strongly related to the presence of chromosomal defects, Dr.
The amount of stromal fat is remarkably decreased or altogether absent, which results in an increase in the proportion of parenchymal cells to stromal fat cells.
More than 2,800 primary schoolchildren were absent without leave for an average of five days.
It is no accident that the men turned their backs to the public, hiding their faces, or that the glance of the girl was lost in the void; eyes were either absent or without expression.
Sergeant Nigel Miller was dropped by league bosses after it emerged he was absent from work while officiating at the explosive clash between Leeds United and ManU.
The system, called Truancy Call, is aimed against pupils who are persistently absent or whose absence is unauthorised.