Legal Dictionary


Legal Definition of absolute


  1. (of a legal decree etc.) Final

Definition of absolute


    Latin absolutus ("unconditional"), past participle of absolvere ("to loosen, to free, to complete"). Compare French absolu.



absolute (comparative more absolute or (rarely) absoluter, superlative most absolute or (rarely) absolutest)

  1. Loosed from any limitation or condition; uncontrolled; unrestricted; unconditional; as, absolute authority, monarchy, sovereignty, an absolute promise or command.

    1962, Hannah Arendt, On Revolution, (1990), page 155
    [T]he more absolute the ruler, the more absolute the revolution will be which replaces him.

  2. Complete in itself; perfect; consummate; faultless.

    absolute perfection
    absolute beauty
    So absolute she seems, And in herself complete. -John Milton

  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.

    Note: 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.

    Note: It is in dispute among philosophers 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 human intellect.

    To Cusa we can indeed articulately trace, word and thing, the recent philosophy of the absolute. -William Hamilton

  6. (rare) Positive; clear; certain; not doubtful.

    I am absolute 't was very Cloten. -Shakespeare, Cymbeline, IV,ii

  7. (rare) Authoritative; peremptory.

    The peddler stopped, and tapped her on the head, With absolute forefinger, brown and ringed. -Elizabeth Barrett Browning

  8. (chemistry) Pure; unmixed; as, absolute alcohol.
  9. (grammar) Not immediately dependent on the other parts of the sentence in government; as, the case absolute.


  • positive
  • peremptory
  • certain
  • unconditional
  • unlimited
  • unrestricted
  • unqualified
  • arbitrary
  • despotic
  • autocratic
  • ultimate

Derived terms

Terms derived from "absolute"

  • ablative absolute
  • absolute curvature (geometry)
  • absolute equation (astronomy)
  • absolute magnitude
  • absolute majority
  • absolute monarchy
  • absolute music (music)
  • absolute pitch
  • absolute power
  • absolute space (physics)
  • absolute terms (algebra)
  • absolute temperature
  • absolute value
  • absolute zero


absolute (plural absolutes)

  1. That which is independent of context-dependent interpretation, inviolate, fundamental.

    moral absolutes

  2. (geometry) In a plane, the two imaginary circular points at infinity; in space of three dimensions, the imaginary circle at infinity.


  • absolute in Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913


  • Alphagram: abelostu
  • bales out


  1. Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.


1.     lex fori
2.     landed property
3.     lex situs
4.     respondent
5.     default judgment
6.     tort law
7.     living will
8.     lex causae
9.     law
10.     salacious