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1. Considered apart from concrete existence: an abstract concept.
2. Not applied or practical; theoretical.
3. Difficult to understand; abstruse: abstract philosophical problems.
4. Denoting something that is immaterial, conceptual, or nonspecific, as an idea or quality: abstract words like truth and justice.
5. Impersonal, as in attitude or views.
6. Having an intellectual and affective artistic content that depends solely on intrinsic form rather than on narrative content or pictorial representation: abstract painting and sculpture.
1. A statement summarizing the important points of a text.
2. Something abstract.
3. An abstract of title.
tr.v. (ăb-străkt′) ab·stract·ed, ab·stract·ing, ab·stractsIdiom:
a. To take away; remove: abstract the most important data from a set of records.
b. To remove without permission; steal: a painting that was abstracted from the museum.
2. To consider (an idea, for example) as separate from particular examples or objects: abstract a principle of arrangement from a series of items.
3. (ăb′străkt′) To write a summary of; summarize: abstract a long article in a paragraph.
4. To create artistic abstractions of (something else, such as a concrete object or another style): "The Bauhaus Functionalists were ... busy unornamenting and abstracting modern architecture, painting and design" (John Barth).
in the abstract
In a way that is conceptual or theoretical, as opposed to actual or empirical.
[Middle English, from Latin abstractus, past participle of abstrahere, to draw away : abs-, ab-, away; see ab-1 + trahere, to draw.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.