Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


 (ăb′sə-lo͞ot′, ăb′sə-lo͞ot′)
a. Unqualified in extent or degree; total: absolute silence.
b. Not limited by restrictions or exceptions: an absolute right.
c. Being fully such; utter: an absolute fool.
d. Unconstrained by constitutional or other provisions: an absolute ruler.
2. Not mixed; pure: absolute oxygen.
3. Not to be doubted or questioned; positive: absolute proof.
4. Grammar
a. Of, relating to, or being a word, phrase, or construction that is isolated syntactically from the rest of a sentence, as the referee having finally arrived in The referee having finally arrived, the game began.
b. Of, relating to, or being a transitive verb when its object is implied but not stated. For example, inspires in We have a teacher who inspires is an absolute verb.
c. Of, relating to, or being an adjective or pronoun that stands alone when the noun it modifies is being implied but not stated. For example, in Theirs were the best, theirs is an absolute pronoun and best is an absolute adjective.
5. Physics
a. Relating to measurements or units of measurement derived from fundamental units of length, mass, and time.
b. Relating to absolute temperature.
6. Law Complete and unconditional; final: an absolute divorce.
1. Something that is absolute.
2. Absolute Philosophy
a. Something regarded as the ultimate and transcendent basis of all thought and being. Used with the.
b. Something regarded as exceeding or transcending everything else to the point of being independent and unrelated.

[Middle English absolut, from Latin absolūtus, unrestricted, past participle of absolvere, to absolve : ab-, away; see ab-1 + solvere, to loosen; see leu- in Indo-European roots.]

ab′so·lute′ness n.
Usage Note: An absolute term denotes a property that a thing either can or cannot have. Such terms include absolute itself, chief, complete, perfect, prime, unique, and mathematical terms such as equal and parallel. By strict logic, absolute terms cannot be compared, as by more and most, or used with an intensive modifier, such as very or so. Something either is complete or it isn't—it cannot be more complete than something else. Consequently, sentences such as He wanted to make his record collection more complete, and You can improve the sketch by making the lines more perpendicular, are often criticized as illogical. Such criticism confuses pure logic or a mathematical ideal with the rough approximations that are frequently needed in ordinary language. Certainly in some contexts we should use words strictly logically; otherwise teaching mathematics would be impossible. But we often think in terms of a scale or continuum rather than in clearly marked either/or categories. Thus, we may think of a statement as either logically true or false, but we also know that there are degrees of truthfulness and falsehood. Similarly, there may be degrees of completeness to a record collection, and some lines may be more perpendicular—that is, they may more nearly approximate mathematical perpendicularity—than other lines. See Usage Notes at equal, unique.


formal the quality of being absolute
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.absoluteness - the quality of being complete or utter or extreme; "the starkness of his contrast between justice and fairness was open to many objections"
limit, bound, boundary - the greatest possible degree of something; "what he did was beyond the bounds of acceptable behavior"; "to the limit of his ability"
2.absoluteness - the quality of being absoluteabsoluteness - the quality of being absolute; "the absoluteness of the pope's decree could not be challenged"
unchangeability, unchangeableness, unchangingness, changelessness - the quality of being unchangeable; having a marked tendency to remain unchanged
References in classic literature ?
Will Ladislaw was in one of those tangled crises which are commoner in experience than one might imagine, from the shallow absoluteness of men's judgments.
Himself a live thing, solid and substantial, possessed of weight and dimension, a reality incontrovertible, he moved through the space and place of being, concrete, hard, quick, convincing, an absoluteness of something surrounded by the shades and shadows of the fluxing phantasmagoria of nothing.
The absoluteness of possession pleased them, and they realized it as the first moment of their experience under their own exclusive roof-tree.
Everything happens quite involuntarily, as if in a tempestuous outburst of freedom, of absoluteness, of power and divinity.
Were there no strike, no snarling and wrangling over jobs, there would be only the old Billy she had loved in all absoluteness.
I am afraid the picture was lost upon Newman, but Madame de Bellegarde was, in fact, at this moment a striking image of the dignity which--even in the case of a little time-shrunken old lady--may reside in the habit of unquestioned authority and the absoluteness of a social theory favorable to yourself.
Tonally and thematically complex, it involves an ardent denunciation of the poet's art just as it uses that art to insist upon the "asylum" to be found in a "final word," perhaps "Word," that strongly implies both the mercy and absoluteness of a Christian God just as it inevitably circles back to the imperfect words used by a poet.
The mound of undulating curves that has become his artistic imprint is still juxtaposed with bold lines that form bicycle frames, creating a visual tension of solidity and fluidity, absoluteness and ambiguity.
Really, power in its absoluteness defines itself by the devastation it drops on the world below.
This absoluteness, however, is mitigated by the political, structural, cultural-institutional, and technical subtexts in which the arsenals are embedded.
The absoluteness of the People makes it hard to discern who the 'people' actually are, and so difficult to effect a rational structured redistribution of interests among them.
They cannot be rapidly skimmed by a teacher whose assessment is based on the absoluteness of ticks or crosses.