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Difference Between Absolute and Relative

Absolute vs Relative

Absolute came from the Latin words absolute and absolvere which mean “to set free or make separate”. Absolute is defined as free from any limitation, qualification, condition or restriction. When used as an adjective, is it used to mean final and not liable to modification.

Furthermore, a thing that is conceived to be absolute depends on anything else and is beyond human control. No mortal being can influence the absolute. Ii is in this sense, that God is called the Absolute by a Theist.

In Physics, absolute is independent of arbitrary standards or of particular properties of substances or systems. It refers to a system of units, as the centimeter-gram-second system, based on some primary units of length, mass, and time. It pertains to a measurement base don an absolute zero or unit.

Relative came from the latin word relativus which means “relate”. It is defined as something dependent upon external conditions for its specific nature, size, etc. as opposed to absolute or independent.

Its specific nature exists only by relation or in proportionate to something else. For example, “value is relative to demand”.

Everything sustains both an absolute and a relative capacity. One is absolute as it is unrestricted; one is relative as well as it is a part of the universe, and stands in relation to the whole.

Comparing the absolute of a scientific quantity being measured to some other a relative measurement like density leads us to define Absolute Density as a substance’s mass per unit volume at a specified temperature. Relative Density (also referred to as specific gravity) then would be the ratio of density of a given substance to the density of a given base material. The use of relative density is preferred over the term specific gravity since the latter means relative density in connection with water.

Relative density is a unit-less quantity. If some substance is denser than water, then its relative density will be greater than one and will sink in water. If the resulting relative density is exactly 1, then it goes to say that the densities are equal. If a substance’s relative density is less than one then it is less dense than the reference and will float in water.

Summary:
1. Relative is always in proportion to a whole. Absolute is the total of all existence.
2. Relative is dependent while absolute is independent.
3. Absolute is capable of being thought of or conceived by itself alone.


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