- 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 initial capital letter) pertaining to the nonrepresentational art styles of the 20th century.
verb (used with object)
- abstinence syndrome,
- abstinence theory,
- abstract algebra,
- abstract art,
- abstract expressionism,
- abstract music,
- abstract noun
Origin of abstract
Examples from the Web for abstract
These matters are not mere threats to abstract constitutional principles.Politicians Only Love Journalists When They're Dead|Luke O’Neil|January 8, 2015|DAILY BEAST
To listeners, Adnan is a real human while Jay remains an abstract figure.The Deal With Serial’s Jay? He’s Pissed Off, Mucks Up Our Timeline|Emily Shire|December 31, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Aelita Andre has just wrapped up another major show of her abstract paintings and given interviews on her latest inspirations.
She became an international sensation at the tender age of two—before she even started pre-school—for her abstract works of art.
Di Bello described the color-splashed works as “abstract expressionism” with “surrealist” methods.
The first abstract of votes polled in St. Croix county was for delegate to Congress and for county officers.Fifty Years In The Northwest|William Henry Carman Folsom
I have no desire for these boarding schools in the abstract.The Boy's Voice|J. Spencer Curwen
Unhappily, the Assembly is not providing a Constitution for contemporary Frenchmen, but for abstract beings.The Origins of Contemporary France, Volume 2 (of 6)|Hippolyte A. Taine
The above is only an abstract of this letter, and some of the quotations are abridged.The Oxford Reformers|Frederic Seebohm
These cap-touches are worth in the abstract about one real—five cents.Spanish Vistas|George Parsons Lathrop
verb (æbˈstrækt) (tr)
Word Origin for abstract
late 14c., originally in grammar (of nouns), from Latin abstractus "drawn away," past participle of abstrahere "to drag away; detach divert," from ab(s)- "away" (see ab-) + trahere "draw" (see tract (n.1)).
Meaning "withdrawn or separated from material objects or practical matters" is from mid-15c. That of "difficult to understand, abstruse" is from c.1400. Specifically in reference to modern art, it dates from 1914; abstract expressionism as an American-based uninhibited approach to art exemplified by Jackson Pollack is from 1952, but the term itself had been used in the 1920s of Kandinsky and others.
Oswald Herzog, in an article on "Der Abstrakte Expressionismus" (Sturm, heft 50, 1919) gives us a statement which with equal felicity may be applied to the artistic attitude of the Dadaists. "Abstract Expressionism is perfect Expressionism," he writes. "It is pure creation. It casts spiritual processes into a corporeal mould. It does not borrow objects from the real world; it creates its own objects .... The abstract reveals the will of the artist; it becomes expression. ..." [William A. Drake, "The Life and Deeds of Dada," 1922]
"abridgement or summary of a document," mid-15c., from abstract (adj.). The general sense of "a smaller quantity containing the virtue or power of a greater" [Johnson] is recorded from 1560s.
1540s, from Latin abstractus or else from the adjective abstract. Related: Abstracted; abstracting, abstractedly.