absorb


absorb
absorb 1 Absorb, imbibe, assimilate can all mean to take (something) in so as to become imbued with it or to make it a part of one’s being.
The original meaning of absorb, to swallow up (both literally and figuratively), has been retained in spite of the development of a later and more common sense, to soak up (both literally and figuratively). When the former idea is stressed, absorb implies the loss of identity of that taken in
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the trust absorbed three small corporations

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in England . . . the aristocracy are subordinate to the middle class, which is gradually absorbing and destroying them— T. S. Eliot

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When soaking up is implied, absorb often suggests enrichment of the recipient
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the roots of plants absorb moisture

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an adult reader with trained habits of attention and concentration will absorb the contents of a book with . . . speed and retentiveness— Eliot

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In its literal sense imbibe usually implies drinking or inhaling
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imbibe intoxicating liquors

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we did not imbibe an undiluted air— N. E. Nelson

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However imbibe, like absorb, often connotes soaking up
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the ground imbibes (or absorbs) moisture

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In its figurative sense imbibe, like absorb, implies a process of learning, but it often carries the suggestions that the process has been unconscious and that the effect has been noticeable or profound
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the pupils imbibe no respect for intellectual values at home, and find none among their schoolfellows— Inge

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twelve years he wandered, imbibing wisdom from every source, sitting at every shrine, tasting every creed— Durant

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Assimilate implies not only absorption but also the conversion of what is absorbed into the substance of the assimilating body. In its narrow sense it applies especially to physiological processes
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the body assimilates digested food into its protoplasm

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In its figurative use it often suggests lasting enrichment without loss of integrity or unity
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poets . . . who assimilate a number of influences and construct an original speech from them— Day Lewis

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Sometimes it stresses completeness of fusion and consequent loss of identity
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races incapable of assimilation

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Analogous words: *soak, saturate, impregnate: *receive, take: incorporate, embody (see IDENTIFY)
Antonyms: exude, give out
Contrasted words: *eject, expel: *throw, cast
2 engross, *monopolize, consume
Analogous words: fix, *fasten: rivet, *secure: immerse, submerge (see DIP)
Antonyms: dissipate (time, attention, energies)
Contrasted words: *scatter, disperse, dispel: *deplete, drain, exhaust

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • absorb — ab‧sorb [əbˈsɔːb, əbˈzɔːb ǁ ɔːrb] verb [transitive] COMMERCE 1. if a large organization absorbs a smaller one, it takes control of it and makes it part of the organization: • The company was absorbed by IBM in 1995. absorb into • Several smaller… …   Financial and business terms

  • Absorb — Ab*sorb , v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Absorbed}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Absorbing}.] [L. absorbere; ab + sorbere to suck in, akin to Gr. ?: cf. F. absorber.] 1. To swallow up; to engulf; to overwhelm; to cause to disappear as if by swallowing up; to use up;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • absorb — ab·sorb vt 1: to make (a right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution) applicable to the states 2 a: to bear or assume the burden of expenses were absorb ed by the company b: to lessen the tax liability for has other losses to absorb the income D. Q …   Law dictionary

  • absorb — [v1] physically take in a liquid blot, consume, devour, drink in, imbibe, ingest, ingurgitate, osmose, soak up, sop up*, sponge up*, suck in*, swallow, take in; concept 256 Ant. disperse, dissipate, eject, emit, exude, spew, vomit absorb [v2]… …   New thesaurus

  • absorb — (v.) early 15c., from M.Fr. absorber (O.Fr. assorbir, 13c.), from L. absorbere to swallow up, from ab from (see AB (Cf. ab )) + sorbere suck in, from PIE root *srebh to suck, absorb (Cf. Armenian arbi I drank, Gk …   Etymology dictionary

  • absorb — ► VERB 1) soak up (liquid or another substance). 2) take in (information). 3) assimilate or take over (something less powerful). 4) use up (time or resources). 5) reduce the effect or intensity of (sound or an impact). 6) (usu. as absorbed or …   English terms dictionary

  • absorb — [ab sôrb′, abzôrb′; əbsôrb′] vt. [L absorbere < ab , from + sorbere, to suck in: see SLURP] 1. to suck up [blotting paper absorbs ink] 2. to take up the full attention or energy of; engross 3. to take in and incorporate; assimilate 4. to… …   English World dictionary

  • absorb */*/ — UK [əbˈzɔː(r)b] / US [əbˈsɔrb] / US [əbˈzɔrb] verb [transitive] Word forms absorb : present tense I/you/we/they absorb he/she/it absorbs present participle absorbing past tense absorbed past participle absorbed 1) a) to take in a gas, liquid, or… …   English dictionary

  • absorb — 01. Children are like little sponges that seem to be able to [absorb] languages very quickly. 02. The course I took was very intensive, and I had a lot of information to [absorb] in a short time. 03. These diapers are very [absorbent], so your… …   Grammatical examples in English

  • absorb — [[t]əbzɔ͟ː(r)b[/t]] absorbs, absorbing, absorbed 1) VERB If something absorbs a liquid, gas, or other substance, it soaks it up or takes it in. [V n] Plants absorb carbon dioxide from the air and moisture from the soil... [be V ed into n] Refined …   English dictionary


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