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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 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 ?
Beginning where "flecks of fabric tangle with your hairs, / Trimmed nails, the dry husks of dead beetles, bottle / Caps flipped into a corner off our beers," he moves, with perfect cadence, to a conclusion in which he realizes "The skein of dust before my level eye / Is your self with my own absently blent / In life's terse record: its sloughed but faithful sty.
Higgins wrote that Babb had agreed to come in for an appointment the next morning, which she absently noted in her appointment book as she was so focused on the conversation.
That's nice," Mary-Anne replies absently, and she inserts the plates between my teeth and clamps my jaw around them.
Grey's future seems bleak, especially the day he is fired, but everything begins to turn around the moment he absently sinks down on a bench occupied by wealthy Gloria Withers.
She rubs her wrists absently as she remembers the day, two years before, when she'd learned that her fate was intertwined with Emma's.
Yes, well please tell us if you do," he said absently as I scurried off to check out the competition at the cake sale in the school foyer.
We were all singing the song absently, waiting patiently for it to end so that we could get back to chatting about whatever.
The cat realized in his feline brain he'd be sat upon and dropped down, just before the man plopped into his car scratching his butt absently.
As he rather absently brushed some ash and grass off the pot his breath caught in his throat as realisation dawned.
And when the mood and the climate took him he was quite capable of absently receiving his male visitors lounging stark naked on a camp bed; or of munching raw onions as if they were apples and insisting that his troops did the same for the good of their health.
It's those French philosophers, you said absently, they'd led me astray, especially Foucault, Derrida--and who was that other one?
They are the work of those who have traversed the city absently, as it were, lost in thought or worry.
She moves through Haiti scrutinising and often skewering aid workers, foreign businessmen, self-proclaimed humanitarians, Bill Clinton, the suburbanite she imagines sipping 'beer or a Diet Coke' on the couch while flipping absently through pictures of dead Haitians.
I saw a man with flecks of paint on his shirt gazing absently out a window.