As far as I can tell, these two words are interchangeable. One has a Latin root, the other is more Anglo-German. Is one better than the other?
According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linguistic_purism_in_English we should avoid Latin roots when native English roots are readily available.
So should I banish "absent" from my diction, and always use "without"?
Part of my problem is that I watch a lot of Spartacus for the dialogue and diction, among other things. I love the way words roll off their tongues.
It is never an easy thing to see a friend once loved now absent breath.
We return to Rome, absent unworthy entanglements.
If you read the quotes page https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Spartacus:_Blood_and_Sand they use "absent" twice but actually use "without" 8 times. It appears to be a choice dependent on the sentence, as I re-read each of the 10 sentences substitute the absent-without choice, and most of the time, the original quote reads and sounds best.
So is it just a judgment call based on how the sentence sounds?
Source: reddit post