The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
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; to include.
"Dark oblivion soon absorbs them all." --Cowper.
The large cities absorb the wealth and fashion. --W.
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.
Syn: To Absorb, Engross, Swallow up, Engulf.
Usage: 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,
That grave question which had begun to absorb
the Christian mind -- the marriage of the
Too long hath love engrossed Britannia's stage,
And sunk to softness all our tragic rage.
Should not the sad occasion swallow up
My other cares? --Addison.
And in destruction's river
Engulf and swallow those. --Sir P.
Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0:
138 Moby Thesaurus words for "absorb":
ablate, absorb the attention, adsorb, appreciate, apprehend,
appropriate, arrest, assimilate, be with one, bleed white, blot,
blot up, burn up, buy up, catch, catch on, catch up in, charm,
chemisorb, chemosorb, come uppermost, comprehend, conceive,
concern, consume, corner, deplete, dig, digest, drain,
drain of resources, draw in, drink, drink in, drink up, eat,
eat up, embarrass, embody, enchant, engage, engage the attention,
engage the mind, engage the thoughts, engross, engross the mind,
engross the thoughts, enmesh, entangle, enthrall, erode, exercise,
exhaust, expend, fascinate, fathom, fill the mind, filter in,
finish, finish off, follow, get, get hold of, get the drift,
get the idea, get the picture, gobble, gobble up, grab, grasp,
grip, have, have it taped, hold, hold spellbound,
hold the interest, hypnotize, imbibe, imbue, immerse, implicate,
impoverish, impregnate, incorporate, infiltrate, infuse, ingest,
interest, involve, involve the interest, ken, know, learn, master,
mesmerize, metabolize, monopolize, monopolize the thoughts, obsess,
obsess the mind, occupy, occupy the attention, occupy the mind,
osmose, percolate in, permeate, predigest, preoccupy, read,
realize, savvy, seep in, seize, seize the meaning, seize the mind,
sense, sew up, slurp up, soak in, soak up, sorb, spellbind, spend,
sponge, squander, suck dry, suck into, swallow, swallow up,
swill up, take, take in, take up, tangle, understand, use up,
waste away, wear away