My internal thesaurus seems to have a weak point and I don't know what search terms to enter in an on-line thesaurus for this one:

Is there a short, preferably monosyllabic, verb that means "to be absent"?

Less important for my present purposes but possibly also of some use would be one that means "to be present".

PS: Some commenters have asked for examples of how I want to use these words. Note that I have in mind short intransitive verbs, not adverbs. Two standard trigonometric identities for the sine and cosine of the sum of infinitely many terms express those as a sum of products. I want two write something along these line:

Each term on the right has finitely many sine factors and cofinitely many cosine factors. (That the prefix "co-" in "cosine" appears or fails to appear with the same prefix in "cofinite" is dumb luck, but useful as an aid to memory.)

"Appears" might serve for "to be present", but I prefer a monosyllable, and I think "with" doesn't quite fit as this stands but might fit better if a single word rather than "fails to appear" were used.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – tchrist
    Jul 10, 2017 at 3:34
  • Something like miss?
    – Davo
    Jul 17, 2017 at 11:09

7 Answers 7


I don't think your question really has an answer. You seem to be looking for a verb that describes a state of being somewhere else. However, verbs are normally actions. So you need an noun, a state of being.

Some possible nouns include gone, missing, elsewhere, and used informally, a no-show, or AWOL.

  • Not one of those is a verb. I'm looking for short intransitive verbs. Feb 8, 2016 at 21:50
  • 2
    @Xandar Verbs can describe states too. They are called stative verbs
    – Yay
    Feb 8, 2016 at 22:06
  • @Yay There aren't a lot of them though, I meant to say that most often, not inherently. Oops. Feb 8, 2016 at 23:00
  • Being absent is not the same as being somewhere else. Unicorns appear to be absent from this planet, but that doesn't mean they're somewhere else? Feb 11, 2016 at 17:52
  • @MichaelHardy They're present in your imagination, are they not? They are a concept in people's minds, so they exist in people's minds. Feb 11, 2016 at 18:02

The answer is No, there is not a monosyllabic verb that means "to be absent".


As others have said, there is no such verb. You're probably better off rephrasing to avoid the issue. For example:

That "cosine" and "cofinite" have the same prefix is pure coincidence, but useful as an aid to memory.


There is no problem with your word. Your problem is the punctuation. I see what you're trying to accomplish, but proper ... well, just see below

Each term on the right has finitely many sine terms and cofinitely many cosine terms. (That the prefix co- in cosine appears, or fails to appear, with the same prefix in cofinite is dumb luck but useful as an aid to memory.)

  1. Quotation marks slow readers down; I prefer italics in technical writing unless quotes are used by convention or as a more or less slang expression.

  2. Use commas to set off nonessential clauses.

  3. No comma before but.


You will have to reword your sentence, as numerous others have said or thought by now.

My recommendation:

Each term on the right has finitely many sine factors and cofinitely many cosine factors. (The presence or absence of the prefix "co-" in both "cosine" and "cofinite" is sheer luck, but it's also useful as an aid to memory.)

I also don't like the sound of "dumb luck" in a statement about high mathematics, but that's just me.


EDIT: Based on the revision of the question, I've submitted a new answer. I've left this answer since it was reflective of the somewhat vague original request.

From my school days, when the teacher used to call the attendance roll, we used to respond with "here" indicating we were present when called; or if your friend was absent when called, you would yell "out" indicating he/she was out.

Related discussion here.

  • However, those are not verbs. I'm looking for short intransitive verbs. Feb 8, 2016 at 21:50
  • 1
    In my school, another student normally says that the person is absent. Feb 8, 2016 at 21:50
  • @XandarTheZenon Yes, but I was using the monosyllabic word, as requested by the OP.
    – Tim Ward
    Feb 9, 2016 at 14:29
  • 1
    @TimWard I'm not criticizing, just commenting. Feb 9, 2016 at 14:33

Here's what I've decided to go with for the time being:

Each term on the right has finitely many sine factors and cofinitely many cosine factors. The "co-" in "[co]sine" stands or falls with that in "[co]finite" for seemingly no reason at all, but it's a cute mnemonic, and so a true instance of synchronicity.

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