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The grammar sense: "The first of the three degrees of comparison". I have understood that this is the definition of positive and that an absolute adjective is one that is used as a noun. --Hekaheka 11:12, 6 August 2008 (UTC)
This is my understanding too. Examples of adjectives used absolutely as nouns are "mobile" and "portable", meaning "mobile phone" and "portable TV/radio/etc" respectively. I don't know whether "absolute" is a synonym for "positive" as in the three degrees of comparison, so I can't comment on that, but I suspect the contributor was confusing the two terms. — Paul G 09:21, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
Short reply: It looks like this sense is real, but not a grammar sense.
Long reply: Going through the Google hits, absolute as applied to adjectives seems to have a few different uses, here in order of [my impression of their] frequency: (1) ≈incomparable, said of an adjective that supposedly cannot be compared for semantic reasons, (2) ≈substantive, said of an adjective used as a noun (or with an implicit noun), (3) ≈set off, said of an adjective that is not explicitly attributed or predicated to its noun. Notably, none of these matches the sense in question; however, the OED's sense 10 is “Viewed without relation to, or comparison with, other things of the same kind; considered only in its relation to space or existence as a whole, or to some permanent standard; real, actual; opposed to relative and comparative”, and it goes on to define superlative absolute as “that which expresses a very high degree of quality, as distinct from stating that it is the highest of a set compared together (superlative relative)”. On the other hand, not one of the OED's quotations is about adjectives specifically or grammar generally — its modify-ees are “height of mountains” (1666), “misery” (1753), “space” (1785), “motion” (1822), and “quantity of moisture in the air” (1878).
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Rfv-sense: Noun sense 2: "(grammar) The first of the three degrees of comparison." Created here, rfv-ed 6 Aug 08 here, but the link is dead - was it brought here, and if so, what was the conclusion? --Duncan 17:39, 24 April 2009 (UTC)