We have observed an extremely narrow absorption spectrum due to bound-to-continuum transition in GaAs/AlxGa1-xAs multiple quantum wells (MQWs). Its linewidth is only about one tenth of the values reported previously. Our calculation indicates that the broadening of the excited state in the continuum has little contribution to the absorption linewidth. We have grown a sample whose MQW region contains two kinds of wells with a minor thickness inhomogeneity. Its resultant absorption linewidth is six times as large as that of homogeneous well sample, which is in good agreement with our theoretical analysis. Thus we can suggest that the wider absorption spectra reported by many authors may be due to the well width inhomogeneity. © 1998 American Institute of Physics.