Ab*sorb”, v. t.
[imp. & p. p. Absorbed; p. pr. & vb. n. Absorbing.]
Etym: [L. absorbere; ab + sorbere to suck in, akin to Gr. absorber.]
1 To swallow up; to engulf; to overwhelm; to cause to disappear as if by swallowing up; to use up; to include. “Dark oblivion soon absorbs them all.” Cowper. The large cities absorb the wealth and fashion. W. Irving.
2 To suck up; to drink in; to imbibe; as a sponge or as the lacteals of the body. Bacon.
3 To engross or engage wholly; to occupy fully; as, absorbed in study or the pursuit of wealth.
4 To take up by cohesive, chemical, or any molecular action, as when charcoal absorbs gases. So heat, light, and electricity are absorbed or taken up in the substances into which they pass. Nichol. p. 8
— To Absorb, Engross, Swallow up, Engulf. These words agree in one general idea, that of completely taking up. They are chiefly used in a figurative sense and may be distinguished by a reference to their etymology. We speak of a person as absorbed (lit., drawn in, swallowed up) in study or some other employment of the highest interest. We speak of a person as ebgrossed (lit., seized upon in the gross, or wholly) by something which occupies his whole time and thoughts, as the acquisition of wealth, or the attainment of honor. We speak of a person (under a stronger image) as swallowed up and lost in that which completely occupies his thoughts and feelings, as in grief at the death of a friend, or in the multiplied cares of life. We speak of a person as engulfed in that which (like a gulf) takes in all his hopes and interests; as, engulfed in misery, ruin, etc. That grave question which had begun to absorb the Christian mind — the marriage of the clergy. Milman. Too long hath love engrossed Britannia’s stage, And sunk to softness all our tragic rage. Tickell. Should not the sad occasion swallow up My other cares Addison. And in destruction’s river Engulf and swallow those. Sir P. Sidney.