The Meaning of AWOL: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of AWOL? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the abbreviation AWOL, including its definition, usage, examples, and more!

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What does the acronym AWOL stand for?

According to Collins English Dictionary, the term AWOL stands for away without leave. If someone in the armed forces is to go AWOL, they leave their post without the permission of a superior officer. This can also be used in a more general sense to mean to disappear without telling anyone where you are going. While civilians still use this term, the military now uses UA, or unauthorized absence. This is in opposition to a member of the armed forces taking an official leave from their place of duty. If someone has gone AWOL or is on AWOL status, they are charged. Many First World War soldiers were charged with going AWOL. If a member of the US military goes AWOL from military duties without the approval or official permission of proper authority, no matter the circumstances, they are liable for punishment. According to Find Law, if you are AWOL for less than three days, you can receive a maximum penalty of confinement for one month and forfeiture of two-thirds pay for one month. If you are AWOL for over 30 days, service members face dishonorable discharge in lieu of court-martial, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and a one-year confinement.

According to The Free Dictionary, the term AWOL (adv.) can stand for much more than just absent without leave. This acronym has many other potential definitions. While these other definitions are still valid, they are less common than video on demand and should therefore be used sparingly. If you do decide to use one of these alternate meanings, make sure that you provide the reader with the proper context so that they can infer the correct intended meaning, especially on a social media site like Twitter or Facebook. This should be standard practice with any acronym that has more than one potential definition.

  •  A Work of Love (various organizations)
  •  A Way of Life
  •  All Walks of Life
  •  American Way of Life
  •  Absent Without Official Leave
  •  Alcohol Without Liquid
  •  Attitude Without Limits (brand)
  •  Away Without Leave
  •  Australian Way of Life
  •  Absence Without Official Leave
  •  Acting Workshop On-Line
  •  Away Without Official Leave
  •  Absent Without Authorized Leave
  •  Another Way of Living
  •  Absent While On Line 🙂
  •  A World of Learning (educational program; various locations)
  •  At Work Oldies Listener
  •  AutoWeek OnLine
  •  Argumentative While On Lead

What are synonyms and antonyms of AWOL?

There are many different words that a person can use in place of the slang term AWOL. These are called synonyms. Synonyms are words and phrases that have the same meaning as a given word or phrase. Synonyms are useful for a variety of reasons. They are a quick and simple way to work on expanding one’s vocabulary, and can also be useful when one is trying not to repeat the same word in a written work or spoken word. This list of synonyms for the word AWOL is provided by Power Thesaurus

  •  taken a powder
  •  out the window
  •  dead
  •  missing
  •  defecting
  •  absence
  •  nonextant
  •  dried up
  •  desertion
  •  departure
  •  burned up
  •  avoidance
  •  defector
  •  absent
  •  disintegrated
  •  deceased
  •  decampment
  •  departed
  •  abdication
  •  not here
  •  defectors
  •  bypassing
  •  taken leave
  •  beat
  •  displaced
  •  absentee
  •  run-off
  •  absent without leave
  •  breakout
  •  disappeared
  •  lacking
  •  break
  •  gone
  •  absentmindedly
  •  absent-minded
  •  bolt
  •  disappearance
  •  not a sign of
  •  consumed
  •  turned to dust
  •  decamped
  •  absentminded
  •  deliverance
  •  truant
  •  not present
  •  away
  •  no more
  •  defunct
  •  leave
  •  deserter

There are also a number of different words that mean the opposite of the word AWOL. These are called antonyms. Antonyms are another simple way to expand your English language vocabulary. This list of antonyms for the word AWOL is also provided by Power Thesaurus

  •  in style
  •  in sight
  •  in awe of
  •  in the buff
  •  in vogue
  •  in line
  •  in operation
  •  in force
  •  in question
  •  in height
  •  in general
  •  staying
  •  in series
  •  in public
  •  in agreement
  •  in good taste
  •  in camera
  •  in gear
  •  in effect
  •  in store
  •  in color
  •  in demand
  •  in that location
  •  in opposition
  •  in the main
  •  in small stages
  •  found
  •  attending
  •  in for
  •  in the raw
  •  in the lead
  •  in haste
  •  in private
  •  in league
  •  in use
  •  in high spirits
  •  in dishabille
  •  present
  •  in poor taste
  •  in play
  •  in writing
  •  in stock
  •  in the altogether
  •  around
  •  in good order
  •  in love
  •  in condition
  •  in the flesh
  •  in evidence

How can the term AWOL be used in a sentence?

The term AWOL can be used in a variety of different ways in sentences in the English language. Using words in a sentence is an excellent way to incorporate them into your vocabulary and everyday use. You can also try to make flashcards or a quiz for yourself to test your knowledge of the definitions of different English words. Try using this new word of the day in a sentence today! Below are a couple of different examples of the term AWOL to help get you started with using this word.

The truant schoolboys were caught after going AWOL, and had to assist the janitorial employees for a month as disciplinary actions.

The military person from the Air Force already had attendance issues, and was not able to get medical documentation for a leave request for specific dates. Rather than go AWOL and be charged with misconduct, he stayed in accordance with the rules and pleased with his officer for the days off.

My glasses have gone AWOL again. I can’t seem to keep track of them!

Overall, the term AWOL means absent without leave. This is a military term that is often used in civilian speak as well.


  1. AWOL – What does AWOL stand for? | The Free Dictionary 
  2. Awol synonyms – 168 Words and Phrases for Awol | Power Thesaurus 
  3. Awol antonyms – 49 Opposites of Awol | Power Thesaurus 
  4. Failure to Report for Duty: Desertion, AWOL, and Other Charges | Find Law