Meaning of ABSTRACT in English


I. (ˈ)abz|trakt, əbzˈ-, -ab|st-, əbˈst- adjective

( sometimes -er/-est )

Etymology: Middle English, from Latin abstractus, past participle of abstrahere to draw away, withdraw, from abs- (variant of ab- ab- (I)) + trahere to pull, draw — more at trace

1. archaic : absent in mind : abstracted 3

abstract , as in a trance — John Milton


[Medieval Latin abstractus, from Latin, past participle]

a. : considered apart from any application to a particular object or specific instance : separated from embodiment

an abstract entity

arguments from abstract probability — P.E.More

b. : difficult to understand : abstruse

more abstract problems involving judgment and ability to reason — Saturday Review

c. : ideal

to shed tears over abstract justice and generosity … and never to know these qualities when you meet them in the street — William James

d. : insufficiently factual : formal

she possessed all civil rights — but these were abstract and empty — H.M.Parshley

abstract and doctrinaire instruction

e. of a unit or number : having no reference to a thing or things — opposed to concrete

3. archaic : drawn away : removed , separate

4. : expressing a property, quality, attribute, or relation viewed apart from the other characteristics inhering in or constituting an object

honesty, whiteness, triangularity are abstract words

5. : dealing or tending to deal with a subject in the abstract: as

a. of a science : pure , theoretical — contrasted with applied

b. : impersonal , detached

I should have remained mainly academic and abstract but for the war — Bertrand Russell

the abstract compassion of a surgeon — Time


a. of a fine art : presenting or possessing schematic or generalized form frequently suggested by and having obscure resemblance to natural appearances through a contrived ordering of pictorial or sculptural elements — contrasted with academic ; compare nonobjective

b. music : absolute 11a

c. of dance composition : lacking concrete program or story

7. : signifying a logical predicate or a class especially of higher order (as number when conceived of as a class property)

II. “ in sense 2; in other senses usually ˈ ̷ ̷ˌ ̷ ̷ noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English, from Latin abstractus, past participle

1. : a summary or an epitome (as of a book, a scientific article, or a legal document)

2. : an abstract term or idea : the result of abstraction

3. : something that comprises or concentrates in itself the essential qualities of a larger thing or of several things

a man who is the abstract of all faults that all men follow — Shakespeare

trial by jury … the very abstract and essence of … democratic government — W.H.Mallock

4. : abstract of title

5. pharmacy : a preparation made by mixing a powdered solid extract of a vegetable substance with sugar of milk in such proportion that one part of the final product represents two parts of the original drug from which the extract was made

6. fine art : abstraction 6

Synonyms: see abridgment

- in the abstract

III. in vt senses 3 & 6 usually ˈ ̷ ̷ˌ ̷ ̷; in other senses usually like adj verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: abstract (I)

transitive verb

1. : to draw away : take away : remove , separate

add or abstract baser metal in minting

a vast cigar-shaped body of gas was raised and eventually abstracted from the surface of the sun — W.E.Swinton

2. : to separate (as an idea) by the operation of the mind : consider (as a quality or attribute) apart from any application to a particular object or instance

abstract the notion of dimension from that of space

3. : to make an abstract of : epitomize , summarize

4. : to draw away the interest or attention of : divert

his imagination had so abstracted him that his name was called twice before he answered — James Joyce

5. : to take secretly or dishonestly : steal , purloin

Shaftesbury's son seems to have abstracted important documents for Cavour — Times Literary Supplement

6. in life insurance : to summarize (an insurance contract) especially in the effort to induce a policyholder to cancel a policy and substitute another

7. fine art : to create abstractions suggested by (a concrete or natural object)

intransitive verb

1. : to perform the process of abstraction or of abstracting something

we naturally abstract when two similar objects are presented to us — Frank Thilly

2. fine art : to create abstractions

Synonyms: see detach

- abstract from

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.