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90s Slang You Should Know


[ab-strak-shuh n] /æbˈstræk ʃən/
an abstract or general idea or term.
the act of considering something as a general quality or characteristic, apart from concrete realities, specific objects, or actual instances.
an impractical idea; something visionary and unrealistic.
the act of taking away or separating; withdrawal:
The sensation of cold is due to the abstraction of heat from our bodies.
secret removal, especially theft.
absent-mindedness; inattention; mental absorption.
Fine Arts.
  1. the abstract qualities or characteristics of a work of art.
  2. a work of art, especially a nonrepresentational one, stressing formal relationships.
Origin of abstraction
1540-50; < Late Latin abstractiōn- (stem of abstractiō) separation. See abstract, -ion
Related forms
abstractional, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for abstraction
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • And the great aim of education is the cultivation of the habit of abstraction.

    The Republic Plato
  • There was an abstraction on his left where Gertrude sat that was less comfortable.

    The Daughter of a Magnate Frank H. Spearman
  • Another change, among those slight differences that she fancied she observed in him, was his abstraction when reading.

    The Devil's Garden W. B. Maxwell
  • “Travellers like any others, I suppose,” rejoined the Spaniard, with an air of abstraction.

    Wood Rangers Mayne Reid
  • Regarded as matter, it is a mass; regarded as a force, it is an abstraction.

    Toilers of the Sea Victor Hugo
British Dictionary definitions for abstraction


absence of mind; preoccupation
the process of formulating generalized ideas or concepts by extracting common qualities from specific examples
an idea or concept formulated in this way: good and evil are abstractions
(logic) an operator that forms a class name or predicate from any given expression See also lambda calculus
an abstract painting, sculpture, etc
the act of withdrawing or removing
Derived Forms
abstractive, adjective
abstractively, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for abstraction

c.1400, "withdrawal from worldly affairs, asceticism," from Old French abstraction (14c.), from Latin abstractionem (nominative abstractio), noun of action from past participle stem of abstrahere (see abstract (adj.)). Meaning "idea of something that has no actual existence" is from 1640s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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abstraction in Medicine

abstraction ab·strac·tion (āb-strāk'shən, əb-)

  1. Distillation or separation of the volatile constituents of a substance.

  2. Exclusive mental concentration; absent-mindedness.

  3. A malocclusion in which the teeth or associated structures are lower than their normal occlusal plane.

  4. The selection of a certain aspect of a concept from the whole.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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