Difference Wiki

Absolute vs. Obsolete: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sawaira Riaz || By Sumera Saeed || Updated on November 3, 2023
Absolute means total and without restriction; obsolete means out of date or no longer in use.

Key Differences

Absolute conveys completeness and the idea of being total or unquestionable. It is often used in contexts where there is no comparative degree, such as in 'absolute truth' where it signifies something that is considered to be universally true. Obsolete, on the other hand, denotes something that is outdated or no longer in use, like a piece of technology that has been superseded by newer innovations.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 03, 2023
An absolute condition or principle is not subject to any limitations or conditions; it is often considered as final and definitive. For instance, an 'absolute monarchy' is a form of government where the monarch has total power. Conversely, when something becomes obsolete, it has fallen into disuse and is no longer relevant or useful in the current context, such as an 'obsolete word' which has fallen out of the language and is rarely recognized or understood by contemporary speakers.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 03, 2023
Absolute can also pertain to total authority or an unqualified nature within various domains, such as law or monarchy. When one refers to 'absolute power', it implies a power that is not constrained by external checks and balances. Obsolete, however, refers to items or practices that have been phased out, often because they have been replaced by alternatives that serve the same function more effectively, like 'obsolete technology' which has been replaced by more advanced or efficient options.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 03, 2023
In science, the concept of absolute can be used in terms like 'absolute zero', which refers to the lowest temperature theoretically possible. It represents a definitive physical limit. In contrast, the term obsolete is not about limits but about the passage of time and progress, as in a scientific theory that is rendered obsolete by new discoveries and understanding.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 03, 2023
Absolute is derived from the Latin 'absolutus', meaning 'freed, unrestricted'. The word carries connotations of freedom from limitation or restraint. The term obsolete comes from the Latin 'obsoletus', meaning 'grown old, worn out', and often implies that something has been surpassed by more recent developments or innovations.
Janet White
Nov 03, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Definition

Total, unrestricted, or complete.
Outdated, no longer used or needed.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 03, 2023

Context

Often used in authority, truth, and laws.
Used for technology, language, practices.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 03, 2023

Connotation

Power, certainty, unconditionality.
Redundancy, disuse, supersession.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 03, 2023

Variability

Does not change with context or time.
Changes with advancement and time.
Harlon Moss
Nov 03, 2023

Origin of Word

From Latin 'absolutus' (freed, complete).
From Latin 'obsoletus' (grown old, worn out).
Harlon Moss
Nov 03, 2023
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Absolute and Obsolete Definitions

Absolute

Not relative.
In the experiment, they sought an absolute measurement.
Harlon Moss
Nov 03, 2023

Obsolete

Superseded.
The old manual process has become obsolete due to automation.
Harlon Moss
Nov 03, 2023

Absolute

Complete in itself.
They believed in the absolute truth of the prophecy.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 03, 2023

Obsolete

No longer in use.
The floppy disk is now an obsolete technology.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 03, 2023

Absolute

Unrestricted.
He ruled with absolute power.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 03, 2023

Obsolete

Discontinued.
That model of the phone has been declared obsolete.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 03, 2023

Absolute

Utter; outright.
The film was an absolute disaster at the box office.
Sara Rehman
Nov 03, 2023

Obsolete

Forgotten.
The obsolete words puzzled the young readers.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 03, 2023

Absolute

Independent.
She enjoyed an absolute advantage in the competition.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 03, 2023

Obsolete

Outdated.
Such an idea is obsolete in modern society.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 03, 2023

Absolute

Unqualified in extent or degree; total
Absolute silence.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 15, 2022

Obsolete

No longer in use
An obsolete word.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 15, 2022

FAQs

Are absolute rules always fair?

Absolute rules are impartial but not always considered fair, as they don't account for exceptions.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 03, 2023

Can a person be obsolete?

No, while a person's skills can become obsolete, the person themselves cannot.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 03, 2023

Is 'absolute' always positive?

No, absolute can be negative, as in 'absolute disaster'.
Sara Rehman
Nov 03, 2023

Does obsolete always mean old?

Often, but something can become obsolete quickly due to rapid innovation.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 03, 2023

Are absolute truths universal?

They are regarded as universal, though this is a subject of philosophical debate.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 03, 2023

Can an obsolete practice come back into use?

Yes, sometimes obsolete practices are revived or rediscovered.
Sara Rehman
Nov 03, 2023

Can obsolete items be reused?

Yes, obsolete items can sometimes be repurposed or recycled.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 03, 2023

How does absolute relate to monarchy?

It refers to a form of monarchy with unrestricted power.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 03, 2023

Can a language become obsolete?

Yes, when a language has no living speakers, it's considered obsolete.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 03, 2023

What does absolute mean in law?

In law, absolute means complete and unconditional, such as absolute liability.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 03, 2023

What can make a technology obsolete?

Advances in innovation and more efficient alternatives can make a technology obsolete.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 03, 2023

Does absolute mean perfect?

Not necessarily; absolute indicates completeness but not perfection.
Harlon Moss
Nov 03, 2023

Can morality be absolute?

Some believe in absolute morality, but others argue it's culturally relative.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 03, 2023

How do companies deal with obsolete products?

Companies may discontinue, recycle, or repurpose obsolete products.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 03, 2023

Is 'obsolete' a negative term?

It can be negative, suggesting uselessness, but it's often simply factual.
Sara Rehman
Nov 03, 2023

Can absolute power be a risk?

Yes, it can lead to abuse of power and lack of checks and balances.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 03, 2023

What's the process of something becoming obsolete?

Obsolescence usually occurs when something is replaced by a more effective alternative.
Janet White
Nov 03, 2023

What's an absolute phrase in grammar?

An absolute phrase is a sentence part describing the rest of the sentence without using a conjunction.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 03, 2023

Is 'absolute zero' achievable?

Absolute zero is a theoretical limit in temperature, not yet achieved in practice.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 03, 2023

Do all things eventually become obsolete?

Most things do due to the nature of progress and change.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 03, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.
Edited by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.

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