adj. & n.
adj. 1 complete, utter, perfect (an absolute fool; absolute bliss). 2 unconditional, unlimited (absolute authority). 3 despotic; ruling arbitrarily or with unrestricted power (an absolute monarch). 4 (of a standard or other concept) universally valid; not admitting exceptions; not relative or comparative. 5 Gram. a (of a construction) syntactically independent of the rest of the sentence, as in dinner being over, we left the table; let us toss for it, loser to pay. b (of an adjective or transitive verb) used or usable without an expressed noun or object (e.g. the deaf, guns kill). 6 (of a legal decree etc.) final.
n. Philos. 1 a value, standard, etc., which is objective and universally valid, not subjective or relative. 2 (prec. by the) a Philos. that which can exist without being related to anything else. b Theol. ultimate reality; God. absolute alcohol Chem. ethanol free from water or other impurities. absolute magnitude the magnitude, i.e. brightness, of a celestial body as seen at a standard distance of 10 parsecs (opp. apparent magnitude). absolute majority 1 a majority over all others combined. 2 more than half. absolute pitch Mus. 1 the ability to recognize the pitch of a note or produce any given note. 2 a fixed standard of pitch defined by the rate of vibration. absolute temperature one measured from absolute zero. absolute zero a theoretical lowest possible temperature, at which the particles whose motion constitutes heat would be minimal, calculated as -273.15 øC (or 0 øK). absoluteness n.
[ ME f. L absolutus past part.: see ABSOLVE ]