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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
  • 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.
  • abstract = of a concept or idea not associated with any specific instance
  • 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
    (editor's note:  The suffix "-tion", converts a verb into a noun that denotes the action or result of the verb. Typically, there is a slight change in the ending of the root verb, as in action, education, and observation.)
  • 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
    (editor's note:  The suffix "-tion", converts a verb into a noun that denotes the action or result of the verb. Typically, there is a slight change in the ending of the root verb, as in action, education, and observation.)
  • 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
  • We pour Scotch into a glass and then call to mind thoughts of water, and then we mix the actual Scotch with the abstracted idea of water.
    John Green  --  The Fault in Our Stars
  • abstracted = of a concept or idea that does not have physical existence
  • The misery began when I moved beyond the Pythagorean theorem to sine, cosine and tangent. I couldn't grasp such abstractions.
    Tara Westover  --  Educated
  • abstractions = general concepts not associated with a specific instance of something that can be touched
  • The White River is beautiful in the abstract—blue herons and geese and deer and all that stuff—but the actual water itself smells like human sewage.
    John Green  --  Turtles All the Way Down
  • abstract = of a concept or idea 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

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 imitating objects of nature
Other Uses (with this meaning)
  • The room is decorated with abstract art.
  • abstract = not imitating 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 imitating 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
  • She didn't have any particular style; some of her paintings were what she called primitive, some were impressionistic and abstract, some were realistic.
    Jeannette Walls  --  The Glass Castle
  • abstract = not imitating objects of nature
  • The rest of the art was cool, too—big abstract paintings of hard-edged geometric shapes, an assemblage of old wooden chairs precariously stacked to the ceiling, a huge photograph of a kid jumping on a trampoline alone in a vast harvested cornfield—but Mychal's was my favorite, and not just because I knew him.
    John Green  --  Turtles All the Way Down
  • abstract = not imitating objects of nature
  • Abstract painting is more up my alley.
    Christina Garcia  --  Dreaming in Cuban
  • abstract = not imitating 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 imitating 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:
  • 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."


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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