[ adjective ab-strakt, ab-strakt; noun ab-strakt; verb ab-strakt for 11-14, ab-strakt for 10 ]
See synonyms for: abstractabstractedabstractsabstractly on Thesaurus.com

  1. thought of apart from concrete realities, specific objects, or actual instances: an abstract idea.

  2. expressing a quality or characteristic apart from any specific object or instance, as justice, poverty, and speed.

  1. not applied or practical; theoretical: abstract science.

  2. difficult to understand; abstruse: abstract speculations.

  3. Fine Arts.

    • of or relating to the formal aspect of art, emphasizing lines, colors, generalized or geometrical forms, etc., especially with reference to their relationship to one another.

    • Often Abstract . pertaining to the nonrepresentational art styles of the 20th century.

  1. a summary of a text, scientific article, document, speech, etc.; epitome.

  2. something that concentrates in itself the essential qualities of anything more extensive or more general, or of several things; essence.

  1. an idea or term considered apart from some material basis or object.

  2. an abstract work of art.

verb (used with object)
  1. to make an abstract of; summarize.

  2. to draw or take away; remove.

  1. to divert or draw away the attention of.

  2. to steal.

  3. to consider as a general quality or characteristic apart from specific objects or instances: to abstract the notions of time, space, and matter.

Idioms about abstract

  1. abstract away from, to omit from consideration.

  2. in the abstract, without reference to a specific object or instance; in theory: beauty in the abstract.

Origin of abstract

First recorded in 1400–50; late Middle English: “withdrawn from worldly interests,” from Latin abstractus “drawn off” (past participle of abstrahere ). See abs-, tract1

Other words from abstract

  • ab·stract·er, noun
  • ab·stract·ly, adverb
  • ab·stract·ness, noun
  • non·ab·stract, adjective, noun
  • non·ab·stract·ly, adverb
  • non·ab·stract·ness, noun
  • o·ver·ab·stract, verb (used with object), adjective
  • pre·ab·stract, adjective
  • su·per·ab·stract, adjective
  • su·per·ab·stract·ly, adverb
  • su·per·ab·stract·ness, noun

Words Nearby abstract

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use abstract in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for abstract


  1. having no reference to material objects or specific examples; not concrete

  2. not applied or practical; theoretical

  1. hard to understand; recondite; abstruse

  2. denoting art characterized by geometric, formalized, or otherwise nonrepresentational qualities

  3. defined in terms of its formal properties: an abstract machine

  4. philosophy (of an idea) functioning for some empiricists as the meaning of a general term: the word ``man'' does not name all men but the abstract idea of manhood

  1. a condensed version of a piece of writing, speech, etc; summary

  2. an abstract term or idea

  1. an abstract painting, sculpture, etc

  2. in the abstract without reference to specific circumstances or practical experience

verb(æbˈstrækt) (tr)
  1. to think of (a quality or concept) generally without reference to a specific example; regard theoretically

  2. to form (a general idea) by abstraction

  1. (ˈæbstrækt) (also intr) to summarize or epitomize

  2. to remove or extract

  3. euphemistic to steal

Origin of abstract

C14: (in the sense: extracted): from Latin abstractus drawn off, removed from (something specific), from abs- ab- 1 + trahere to draw

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