Meaning of ABSOLUTE in English

I. ˈabsəˌlüt also -əlˌyüt or ˌ ̷ ̷ ̷ ̷ˈ ̷ ̷; usu -üd.+V adjective

( sometimes -er/-est )

Etymology: Middle English absolut, from Latin absolutus, from past participle of absolvere to set free, absolve — more at absolve

1. obsolete : absolved, free

absolute from necessity


a. : free from imperfection or fault : perfect

equally absolute is his meticulous taste in choosing the books — Christopher Morley

b. : free or relatively free from admixture : pure

absolute alcohol contains one per-cent or less of water

: outright , thoroughgoing , unmitigated

absolute villainy

an absolute lie

3. : marked by freedom from restraint or control by any governing or commanding agent or instrumentality: as

a. : having supreme power effectively or formally without constitutional or other restrictions

an absolute ruler

b. : marked by extreme concentration of complete power and jurisdiction

an absolute government

an absolute dictatorship

c. : proceeding from or characteristic of an absolute ruler or state

absolute edicts

absolute power

d. : possessing or marked by absolute power : in sole control

a ship captain absolute on the high seas

e. : absolutist

4. : characterized by the lack of a particular (as the normal or usual) syntactical connection:


(1) of a case form : syntactically connected with the rest of its sentence in an atypical manner

a nominative that is not the subject of a finite verb or a genitive that is not dependent on another substantive is an absolute nominative or an absolute genitive

— see ablative absolute , accusative absolute , genitive absolute , nominative absolute

(2) : standing by itself in loose syntactical connection with the rest of its sentence and qualifying the sentence as a whole rather than any single word in it

anyhow in “anyhow, there is still time to catch the train” and to say the least in “to say the least, this procedure is unusual” are absolute constructions

b. of an adjective or possessive pronoun : standing alone without a modified substantive

blind in “help the blind”; ours in “your work and ours” are absolute

ours is the absolute form of our

c. of a comparative or superlative : expressing a relatively high or an unsurpassed degree without definite comparison to any other under view

older in “an older person should be treated with respect”; greatest in “I have the greatest confidence in him” are absolute

d. of a verb : having no object in the particular construction under consideration though normally transitive

kill in “if looks could kill” is an absolute verb

☞In this dictionary absolute verbs are treated as intransitive

e. in Irish and Welsh verb inflection : belonging to or characteristic of a verb that is not preceded by any of a particular set of particles nor compounded with a preverb

the absolute form

an absolute ending

— opposed to conjunct

5. : free from conditional limitation : operating or existing in full under all circumstances without variation or exception : complete

an absolute requirement

an absolute prohibition

absolute agreement

absolute freedom

experience proved that man's power of choice in action was very far from absolute — Henry Adams

6. : free from doubt: as

a. obsolete : convinced and certain

b. : positive , unquestionable

absolute proof

absolute facts

absolute standards of righteousness — Rose Macaulay

c. : peremptory

an absolute command


a. : independent of arbitrary standards of measurement

an absolute coefficient in an equation

b. : having reference to or derived in the simplest manner from the fundamental units of length, mass, and time

absolute electric units

c. : relating to the absolute-temperature scale

10° absolute

8. : free from qualification: as

a. : final and not liable to modification or termination : full

an absolute denial

an absolute resignation

absolute divorce

absolute ownership

rights that even seem absolute have these qualifications — O.W.Holmes †1935

b. : total

absolute loss

absolute perfection is denied to us humans — M.R.Cohen

calm and absolute assurance — Arnold Bennett

absolute master of the raciest elements of the vernacular — J.L.Lowes

c. of democracy : direct II 4b


a. : free of relationship or relativity : not compared : not dependent on or modified or affected by circumstances or by anything outside itself

an absolute term in logic

truth … is no absolute thing, but always relative — John Galsworthy

b. : fundamental , ultimate , intrinsic : self-contained and self-sufficient : free from the variability and error natural to human perception and human ways of thinking

God's absolute knowledge

10. : perfectly realizing or typifying the nature of the thing in question

absolute justice

absolute hate

the abstract of beauty absolute — P.E.More


a. : concerned entirely with the expression of beauty or of pure feeling and devoid of meaningful reference

absolute poetry

— see absolute music

b. of the dance : relying on the medium of the human body for the expression of an idea independent of music, costumes, and stage sets


autocratic , arbitrary , despotic , tyrannical , tyrannous : absolute indicates the fact of having or constituting complete power or authority without external restraint or control

he ruled as an absolute monarch

it was possible for Signor Mussolini to be made absolute managing director (Dictator or Duce) of the Italian nation — G.B.Shaw

they held their subjects with an absolute hand as all communistic leaders do — F.M.Brown

autocratic and autocratical , likewise designating complete, unchecked power, may be derogatory in implying overwhelming domination or imperious attitudes

autocratic prerogatives could be exercised, under the president, by military officers authorized to arrest without warrants, imprison, and mete out penalties at the drumhead — Charles & Mary Beard

let the emperor turn his nominal sovereignty into a real central and autocratic power, subjecting every rebel city and noble — Hilaire Belloc

arbitrary is often derogatory in suggesting caprice, unreason, and lack of consideration in exercising power

as absolute a master of all their professional actions as ever was the most arbitrary general of the professional actions of his soldiery — W.H.Mallock

irresponsible in its unrestraint, the majority vote may easily outdo an Oriental despot in arbitrary rule — V.L.Parrington

that arbitrary idealism which knows no law — Josiah Royce

despotic is likely to imply imperious and oppressive misuse of absolute power

a despotic government based on fear or blind obedience is a state of slavery — M.R.Cohen

his manner was imperious, and his administration had been arrogant and despotic — Willa Cather

tyrannical and tyrannous , always quite condemnatory, imply cruel, harsh oppression by an absolute ruler or power

the tyrannical rule of Porfirio Díaz, who reduced his own people to peonage while he sold out his country to foreign mining and business interests — Allan Nevins & H.S.Commager

I remember recent instances where tyrannical judges sitting in local courts rode roughshod over the civil liberties of defendants charged with crime — W.O.Douglas

Synonym: see in addition pure .

II. noun

( -s )

1. : something that is absolute:

a. : something that is independent of human perception, valuation, and cognition

b. : something that is not dependent on anything else (as the Spinozistic substance, the first cause, or the primordial) — usually used with the

2. usually capitalized

a. : one of various concepts: as

(1) : absolute ego

(2) : the underlying unity of spirit and nature

b. : the whole of reality considered as the final or total fact : that totality to which everything may be reduced or which in the estimation of its proponent constitutes the ultimate or final referent — usually used with the

3. : a concentrated natural flower oil used in perfumery

absolute of rose


a. : a concentrate prepared by removal of plant waxes from a concrete (sense 5)

b. also absolute of enfleurage : a concentrate obtained in the enfleurage process by removal of the alcohol from alcoholic extracts of the pomade

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.