Why do we say "Conspicuous by his (or her/its) absence.

Well-Known Expressions

Conspicuous by his (or her/its) absence

Meaning:

To convey a message by not attending an event.

Background:

The first written example is by Tacitus (A.D 55-117) who wrote in his Annals "The images of the most illustrious families.. were carried before [the bier of Julia]. Those of Brutus and Cassius were not displayed; but for that reason they shone with preeminent luster".

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