Ab"so*lute (?), a. [L. absolutus, p.
p. of absolvere: cf. F. absolu. See Absolve.]
1. Loosed from any limitation or condition;
uncontrolled; unrestricted; unconditional; as, absolute authority,
monarchy, sovereignty, an absolute promise or command;
absolute power; an absolute monarch.
2. Complete in itself; perfect; consummate;
faultless; as, absolute perfection; absolute
So absolute she seems,
And in herself complete.
3. Viewed apart from modifying influences or
without comparison with other objects; actual; real; -- opposed to
relative and comparative; as, absolute motion;
absolute time or space.
Absolute rights and duties are such as pertain to man in a state
of nature as contradistinguished from relative rights and duties, or
such as pertain to him in his social relations.
4. Loosed from, or unconnected by, dependence on
any other being; self-existent; self-sufficing.
☞ In this sense God is called the Absolute by the Theist.
The term is also applied by the Pantheist to the universe, or the total of
all existence, as only capable of relations in its parts to each other and
to the whole, and as dependent for its existence and its phenomena on its
mutually depending forces and their laws.
5. Capable of being thought or conceived by itself
alone; unconditioned; non-relative.
☞ It is in dispute among philosopher whether the term, in this
sense, is not applied to a mere logical fiction or abstraction, or whether
the absolute, as thus defined, can be known, as a reality, by the
To Cusa we can indeed articulately trace, word and thing,
the recent philosophy of the absolute.
Sir W. Hamilton.
6. Positive; clear; certain; not doubtful.
I am absolute 't was very Cloten.
7. Authoritative; peremptory. [R.]
The peddler stopped, and tapped her on the head,
With absolute forefinger, brown and ringed.
8. (Chem.) Pure; unmixed; as,
9. (Gram.) Not immediately dependent on the
other parts of the sentence in government; as, the case absolute.
See Ablative absolute, under Ablative.
Absolute curvature (Geom.), that curvature
of a curve of double curvature, which is measured in the osculating plane
of the curve. -- Absolute equation (Astron.),
the sum of the optic and eccentric equations. -- Absolute
space (Physics), space considered without relation to
material limits or objects. -- Absolute terms.
(Alg.), such as are known, or which do not contain the unknown
quantity. Davies & Peck. -- Absolute
temperature (Physics), the temperature as measured on
a scale determined by certain general thermo-dynamic principles, and
reckoned from the absolute zero. -- Absolute zero
(Physics), the be ginning, or zero point, in the scale of
absolute temperature. It is equivalent to -273° centigrade or -
Syn. -- Positive; peremptory; certain; unconditional; unlimited;
unrestricted; unqualified; arbitrary; despotic; autocratic.