Definition of absorb verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



/əbˈsɔrb; əbˈzɔrb/


1 to take in a liquid, gas, or other substance from the surface or space around absorb somethingPlants absorb oxygen.Let the rice cook until it has absorbed all the water. absorb something into somethingThe lotion is easily absorbed into the skin.

make part of something larger

2 [often passive] to make something smaller become part of something larger absorb somethingThe country simply cannot absorb this influx of refugees. absorb something into somethingThe surrounding small towns have been absorbed into the city.


3 absorb something to take something into the mind and learn or understand it synonym take inIt's a lot of information to absorb all at once.It took me several days to absorb the fact of her death.They spent a week in Paris just absorbing the atmosphere.

interest someone

4 absorb someone to interest someone very much so that they pay no attention to anything else synonym engrossThis work had absorbed him for several years.


5 absorb something to take in and keep heat, light, energy, etc. instead of reflecting itBlack walls absorb a lot of heat during the day.


6 absorb something to reduce the effect of a blow, hit, etc.This tennis racket absorbs shock on impact.The bats have graphite shafts that absorb the vibration. see also shock absorber


7 absorb something to use up a large supply of something, especially money or timeThe new proposals would absorb $80 billion of the federal budget.8 absorb something to deal with changes, effects, costs, etc.The company is unable to absorb such huge losses.