ab·sorb (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.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.