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With the word absolute falling immediately after absinthe, a liqueur, in the dictionary, my mind naturally thought of Absolut vodka upon seeing absolute. That, of course, is not the correct spelling of absolute.

Furthermore, Absolut is not even in the dictionary as being derived from absolute. I don’t know why not. I guess Pernod Ricard, the company that owns The Absolut Company, the makers of Absolut vodka, wasn’t willing to pay the necessary product placement fees to the dictionary. (It also hasn’t paid me any product placement fees, nor have I asked for any, but if it wants to pay me, I won’t refuse the money.)

I apologize. That discussion about vodka got a little off the track, didn’t it? I was supposed to be talking about the word absolute here, not a vodka product. I can’t believe how easily I can get distracted. Wow! You should have seen the moth that just fluttered past my window!

Sorry. Absolute. Focus.

Absolute means unadulterated or pure.

The example that The New Penguin English Dictionary (1986) gives for the “pure” meaning of absolute is “absolute alcohol,” so maybe the Absolut Company did pay a small product placement fee after all; just not enough to get its brand name mentioned. But I’m probably wrong about that. The company probably didn’t pay anything. Cheap bastards! Dictionaries are worthy of our support!

Absolute can also mean unrestrained, such as an absolute monarch, or without restrictions, such as absolute ownership. I don’t see much difference between these two usages of absolute, but my dictionary lists them separately, with another usage—to stand apart from the usual relationship with other words or sentence parts—rammed in between them. Go figure. In my opinion, that placement is absolutely ridiculous.

Absolute can also mean being self-sufficient, without relating to anything external to that which is absolute.

Finally, absolute can mean the lowest value on a temperature scale. I won’t speak further about this last meaning hear because I’ll get to the term absolute zero two entries from now. (Yeah, it’s in the dictionary, so I’ll get to it.)

Wow, I never realized how much the word absolute gets around. I had to work hard to cram all of it into this one entry. I think I need a drink. I wonder what I should have.

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