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abstract
used in a sentence

3 meanings
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1  —as in:
abstract thought
Definition of a concept or idea not associated with any specific instance

or more rarely:

describing someone as distracted — thinking about something outside of the immediate conversation or circumstances
  • We all agree that we want what's "best for the country", but that is an abstract concept and we cannot agree on which specific laws should be passed.
abstract = of a concept or idea not associated with any specific instance
Other Uses (with this meaning)
  • She struggles with abstract reasoning.
  • abstract = of a concept or idea not associated with any specific instance
  • He loved her only in the abstract—not in person.
  • Of course we had heard about the Fascist, but they were still just an abstraction to us.
    Elie Wiesel  --  Night
  • abstraction = a concept or idea not associated with any specific instance
  • So I speak to him and say to him: "Comrade, I did not want to kill you." If you jumped in here again, I would not do it, if you would be sensible too. But you were only an idea to me before, an abstraction that lived in my mind and called forth its appropriate response.
    Erich Maria Remarque  --  All Quiet on the Western Front
  • abstraction = a concept not associated with any specific instance
  • At that stage of my youth, death remained as abstract a concept as non-Euclidean geometry or marriage.
    Jon Krakauer  --  Into the Wild
  • abstract = of a concept not associated with any specific instance
  • And yet the rage that one felt was an abstract, undirected emotion which could be switched from one object to another like the flame of a blowlamp.
    George Orwell  --  1984
  • abstract = not associated with any specific thing
  • He examined his eternal matchbox, the lid of which said GUARANTEED: ONE MILLION LIGHTS IN THIS IGNITER, and began to strike the chemical match abstractedly, blow out, strike, blow out, strike, speak a few words, blow out.
    Ray Bradbury  --  Fahrenheit 451
  • abstractedly = without thinking about it
  • My desire might be to make this boy ... a worshipper of abstract and unifying God.
    Peter Shaffer  --  Equus
  • abstract = of a concept or idea not associated with any specific instance
  • We throw up our hands at a problem phrased in an abstract way, but have no difficulty at all solving the same problem rephrased as a social dilemma.
    Malcolm Gladwell  --  The Tipping Point
abstract = of a concept or idea not associated with any specific instance

Dictionary / pronunciation — Google®Dictionary list — Onelook.com®
2  —as in:
read the abstract
Definition a summary; or to summarize — especially academic writing
  • The abstract is free, but there is a fee to see the entire article.
abstract = summary
Other Uses (with this meaning)
  • A statistical abstract is published each year.
  • abstract = summary
  • they are the abstracts and brief chronicles of the time
    William Shakespeare  --  Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
  • abstracts = summaries
  • Evidently it still appeared in the original Red Book, as it did in several of the copies and abstracts.
    J.R.R. Tolkien  --  The Fellowship of the Ring
  • abstracts = summaries
  • I recognized neither language nor script—and the only sense I could abstract from it was...
    Robert A. Heinlein  --  Glory Road
  • abstract = pull in summary
  • She wondered if those were the same abstracts, files, and professional impedimenta on his desk that were there when she would run in, out of breath, desperate for an ice cream cone, and request a nickel.
    Harper Lee  --  Go Set a Watchman
  • abstracts = summaries
  • I sat in meditation two days and two nights, abstracting my mind; inbreathing and outbreathing in the required manner ....
    Rudyard Kipling  --  Kim
  • 'Let me take that pipe,' she said, cautiously advancing her hand and abstracting it from his mouth.
    Emily Bronte  --  Wuthering Heights
  • That didn't answer very well; and then I began to state cases for them, and make abstracts, and that sort of work.
    Charles Dickens  --  David Copperfield
  • I realized all those times I'd felt people stare at me, their faces had been pictures, abstracts.
    Sarah Dessen  --  The Truth About Forever

Dictionary / pronunciation — Google®Dictionary list — Onelook.com®
3  —as in:
abstract art
Definition not representing or imitating external reality or the objects of nature
  • She is an abstract painter.
abstract = not representing or imitating external reality or the objects of nature
Other Uses (with this meaning)
  • The room is decorated with abstract art.
  • abstract = not representing or imitating external reality or the objects of nature
  • ...a full cotton skirt of a dull blue-green with abstract black swirls and squares on it,
    Margaret Atwood  --  Cat's Eye
  • abstract = not representing or imitating external reality or the objects of nature
  • Tally remembered growing up surrounded by Sol's woodwork, abstract shapes fashioned from fallen branches she would collect from parks as a littlie.
    Scott Westerfeld  --  Uglies
  • abstract = not imitating objects of nature
  • And at the museums, have you ever been? All abstract. That's all there is now. My uncle says it was different once. A long time back sometimes pictures said things or even showed people.
    Ray Bradbury  --  Fahrenheit 451
  • abstract = not imitating nature
  • Abstract painting is more up my alley.
    Christina Garcia  --  Dreaming in Cuban
  • abstract = not representing or imitating external reality or the objects of nature
  • ...several rusted metal sculptures—one an abstract, plated mammoth,
    Veronica Roth  --  Divergent
  • abstract = of art:  not accurately imitating objects of nature
  • It crawled and the colors were wrong, as jarring as some abstract paintings.
    Robert A. Heinlein  --  Glory Road
  • abstract = not representing or imitating external reality or the objects of nature
  • NICK: (Indicating the abstract painting) Who . . . who did the . . . ?
    Edward Albee  --  Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
  • abstract = not imitating external reality or objects of nature
  • Also there was art everywhere:  abstract paintings on the walls, several ceramic pieces, and two of Wes's smaller sculptures on display on either side of the fireplace.
    Sarah Dessen  --  The Truth About Forever
abstract = not representing or imitating external reality or the objects of nature

Dictionary / pronunciation — Google®Dictionary list — Onelook.com®
Less commonly:
Much more rarely, in classic literature, abstract can refer to someone lost in thought, as in: {definitionDetail}
  • one of Doyle's descriptions of Sherlock Holmes: "I observed that he sat frequently for half an hour on end, with knitted brows and an abstracted air,"
  • Oscar Wilde's, The Importance of Being Earnest,: "In a moment of mental abstraction, for which I never can forgive myself, I deposited the manuscript in the bassinette, and placed the baby in the hand-bag."
{/definitionDetail} Also very rarely, abstract can refer to anything taken out of or separated from something else, or something stolen, as in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes where Doyle wrote: "...a plumber, was accused of having abstracted it from the lady's jewel-case."
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