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 (əb-zôrb′, -sôrb′)
tr.v. ab·sorbed, ab·sorb·ing, ab·sorbs
1. To take (something) in through or as through pores or interstices.
a. To occupy the attention, interest, or time of; engross: The problem completely absorbed her. See Synonyms at engross.
b. To take up or occupy (one's time or interest, for example).
3. To retain (radiation or sound, for example) wholly, without reflection or transmission.
4. To take in; assimilate: immigrants who were absorbed into the social mainstream.
5. To learn; acquire: "Matisse absorbed the lesson and added to it a new language of color" (Peter Plagen).
6. To receive (an impulse) without echo or recoil: a fabric that absorbs sound; a bumper that absorbs impact.
7. To assume or pay for (a cost or costs).
8. To endure; accommodate: couldn't absorb the additional hardships.
9. To use up; consume: The project has absorbed all of our department's resources.

[Middle English, to swallow up, from Old French absorber, from Latin absorbēre : ab-, away; see ab-1 + sorbēre, to suck.]

ab·sorb′a·bil′i·ty n.
ab·sorb′a·ble adj.
ab·sorb′ed·ly adv.
ab·sorb′er n.
ab·sorb′ing·ly adv.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


  1. Absorbed them [the influences of women around whom author grew up] as I would chloroform on a cloth laid against my face —Vivian Gornick
  2. Absorbent as a sponge —Anon
  3. Absorbent as blotting paper —Anon
  4. Absorbent as cereal soaking up cream —Anon
  5. It [a huge Christmas tree] soaked up baubles and tinsel like melting snow —Truman Capote
Similes Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1988 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
The poor absorbability of PAN precursor to microwaves was considered as a limiting factor to stabilize it through microwave heating.
Comparison of absorbability using different molecular weights: Figure 1 shows the amount of FD tissue permeation, and Figure 2 shows the amount in tissue.
Predictably, the technical improvements in stent design, including retrievability and absorbability, would result in airway stent placement expanding in its indications in benign diseases.
At the same time, the large specific surface area and absorbability give it large surface energy; therefore, it can selectively adsorb light components in asphalt.
Oligopeptides, as short-chain polypeptides, have been considered promising candidates due to potent activity, higher safety, and absorbability. They can induce apoptosis of cancer cells, destroy membranaceous cell and organelle structures, change the pH level inside the cell and tumor microenvironment, and enhance immune responses to tumor by the body.
Due to the high specific surface area and plenty of capillary pores, paper sheets, such as filter paper, have high absorbability of inorganic or organic liquids [23].
Because of the good absorbability and osteoconduction characteristics of TCP, it enables bone remodelling to occur at the material interface [8-10].
The large share of topical treatments--the most common --is attributed to the high absorbability and noninvasive nature of these treatments, which are the highest impact rendering drivers of this market.
Essentially, the testing attempted to obtain information on the absorbability of the shock wave energy by the absorbers tested using a measurable parameter.
Consumers love highly transparent sunscreens, light-diffracting cosmetics, and moisturizers with enhanced absorbability.
The proprietary fiber complex is blended with ginger and a French grape seed extract called VX1 that is standardized to contain only low molecular weight polyphenols for 100% absorbability. Both botanicals play a role in healthy metabolism.