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Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

also a.w.o.l., military initialism (acronym) for absent without leave. The -o- seems to be there mostly so the assemblage can be pronounced as a word. In U.S. military use at least from World War II, popular use by 1960.


a. (context military and generic English) absent without leave (permission). n. 1 (context military English) Absence without proper authority from the properly appointed place of duty, or from unit, organization, or other place of duty at which one is required to be at the time prescribed. 2 (context military English) A person who holds AWOL status. 3 (context generic English) Somebody who is absent without permission. 4 (context figuratively English) Someone or something missing.

  1. adj. absent without permission; "truant schoolboys"; "the soldier was AWOL for almost a week" [syn: truant]

  2. having deserted your post or station without leave

  3. n. one who is away or absent without leave

AWOL (disambiguation)

AWOL is an acronym for "absent without leave" or "absent without official leave".

AWOL may also refer to:

Usage examples of "awol".

Frax Hawryt went AWOL from a 400-series Exo cruiser a year ago during a port-of-call.

Unfortunately, the Army soon developed a new problem: many of the soldiers became sick of each other after three years, resulting in soldiers committing suicide or going AWOL.

And furthermore, once he had won his wings as a Para-Marine, that AWOL business would be forgotten (if he could believe Lieutenant Macklin), and he would have a clean slate.

Since he had not left the base he could not be judged AWOL or be a deserter and could receive only company punishment of a most minor kind.

Soon after, he received a Starfleet notification that Ro had gone AWOL and was believed to be cooperating with the Maquis, who had recently taken a more militant stand in the Demilitarized Zone.

AWOL from the wars within my house, I spent increasing lengths of time engaging the tutelage of the Gray Nuns after class or ensconcing myself in the library, where I began to realize the precocity of my mind and the rewards it would bring to me.

Jim Alley, wounded in Holland, recovered in hospital in England, went AWOL from the 12th Replacement Depot and hitched a ride to Le Havre, then on to Mourmelon, where he arrived on December 15.

Jenks was currently AWOL, hiding out in some Were’s basement after I’d majorly screwed up by not trusting him, but with spring here, I could step up my efforts to apologize and get him to return.

This was also the year that Pam began vanishing from magazines, until she finally went completely AWOL at year's end, nary a lipstick-smudged postcard to any of us.

Soon thereafter, he went AWOL somewhere in the Laotian backcountry where even the superspooks in Special Forces had not been able to find him.