• Noun:
    • IPA: /ˈæbˌstɹækt/
  • Adjective:
    • (British) IPA: /ˈæbˌstɹækt/
    • (America) IPA: /ˌæbˈstɹækt/, /əbˈstɹækt/, /ˈæbˌstɹækt/
  • Verb:
    • IPA: /ˌæbˈstɹækt/, /əbˈstɹækt/

abstract (plural abstracts)

  1. An abridgement or summary of a longer publication. [First attested around 1350 to 1470.]
    • An abstract of every treatise he had read.
  2. Something that concentrates in itself the qualities of a larger item, or multiple items. [First attested in the mid 16th century.]
    • Man, the abstract Of all perfection, which the workmanship Of Heaven hath modeled.
    1. Concentrated essence of a product.
    2. (medicine) A powdered solid extract of a medicinal substance mixed with lactose.
  3. An abstraction; an abstract term; that which is abstract. [First attested in the mid 16th century.]
    • The concretes "father" and "son" have, or might have, the abstracts "paternity" and "filiety".
  4. The theoretical way of looking at things; something that exists only in idealized form. [First attested in the early 17th century.]
  5. (arts) An abstract work of art. [First attested in the early 20th century.]
  6. (real estate) A summary title of the key points detailing a tract of land, for ownership; abstract of title.
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  1. (obsolete) Derived; extracted. [Attested from around 1350 to 1470 until the late 15th century.]
  2. (now, rare) Drawn away; removed from; apart from; separate. [First attested around 1350 to 1470.]
    • 17th century, John Norris (philosopher), The Oxford Dictionary:
      The more abstract we are from the body ... the more fit we shall be to behold divine light.
  3. Expressing a property or attribute separately of an object that is considered to be inherent to that object. [First attested around 1350 to 1470.]
  4. Considered apart from any application to a particular object; not concrete; ideal; non-specific; general, as opposed to specific. [First attested around 1350 to 1470.]
    • 1843, John Stuart Mill, A System of Logic, Volume 1, page 34 ↗,
      A concrete name is a name which stands for a thing; an abstract name which stands for an attribute of a thing. […] A practice, however, has grown up in more modern times, which, if not introduced by Locke, has gained currency from his example, of applying the expression "abstract name" to all names which are the result of abstraction and generalization, and consequently to all general names, instead of confining it to the names of attributes.
    Antonyms: concrete
  5. Difficult to understand; abstruse; hard to conceptualize. [First attested around 1350 to 1470.]
    Synonyms: abstruse
  6. (archaic) Absent-minded. [First attested in the early 16th century.]
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book VII ↗”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: Printed [by Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker […] [a]nd by Robert Boulter […] [a]nd Matthias Walker, […], OCLC 228722708 ↗; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: The Text Exactly Reproduced from the First Edition of 1667: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, OCLC 230729554 ↗, line 1099:
      Abſtract as in a tranſe methought I ſaw,
      abstract, as in a trance
  7. (arts) Pertaining to the formal aspect of art, such as the lines, colors, shapes, and the relationships among them. [First attested in the mid 19th century.]
    1. (arts, often, capitalized) Free from representational qualities, in particular the non-representational styles of the 20th century. [First attested in the mid 19th century.]
    2. (music) Absolute.
    3. (dance) Lacking a story.
  8. Insufficiently factual.
    Synonyms: formal
  9. Apart from practice or reality; vague; theoretical; impersonal; not applied.
    Synonyms: conceptual, theoretical
    Antonyms: applied, practical
  10. (grammar) As a noun, denoting an intangible as opposed to an object, place, or person.
  11. (computing) Of a class in object-oriented programming, being a partial basis for subclasses rather than a complete template for objects.
Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Verb

abstract (abstracts, present participle abstracting; past and past participle abstracted)

  1. (transitive) To separate; to disengage. [First attested around 1350 to 1470.]
    • 1822, [Walter Scott], Peveril of the Peak. [...] In Four Volumes, volume (please specify ), Edinburgh: Printed for Archibald Constable and Co.; London: Hurst, Robinson, and Co., OCLC 2392685 ↗:
  2. (transitive) To remove; to take away; withdraw. [First attested in the late 15th century.]
  3. (transitive, euphemistic) To steal; to take away; to remove without permission. [First attested in the late 15th century.]
    • }
      Von Rosen had quietly abstracted the bearing-reins from the harness.
    • 2014, A P Simester, ‎J R Spencer, ‎G R Sullivan, Simester and Sullivan's Criminal Law: Theory and Doctrine
      Section 13 of the 1968 Act enacts a separate offence of dishonestly abstracting electricity. The separate offence is needed because electricity, like other forms of energy such as heat, is not property.
  4. (transitive) To summarize; to abridge; to epitomize. [First attested in the late 16th century.]
  5. (transitive, obsolete) To extract by means of distillation. [Attested from the early 17th century until the early 18th century.]
  6. (transitive) To consider abstractly; to contemplate separately or by itself; to consider theoretically; to look at as a general quality. [First attested in the early 17th century.]
  7. (intransitive, reflexive, literally, figuratively) To withdraw oneself; to retire. [First attested in the mid 17th century.]
  8. (transitive) To draw off (interest or attention).
    • , William Blackwood, Blackwood's Magazine
      The young stranger had been abstracted and silent.
    He was wholly abstracted by other objects.
  9. (intransitive, rare) To perform the process of abstraction.
    • I own myself able to abstract in one sense.
  10. (intransitive, fine arts) To create abstractions.
  11. (intransitive, computing) To produce an abstraction, usually by refactoring existing code. Generally used with "out".
    He abstracted out the square root function.
Synonyms Related terms

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