- 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 abstractly
What do you think it is, abstractly, that makes this period so absorbing?
By taking it abstractly I mean placing it behind our finite life as we place the word 'winter' behind to-night's cold weather.Pragmatism|William James
Abstractly considered, of course, the poet is what he is, but only in the abstract.The Reform of Education|Giovanni Gentile
Let us grant, however, since the thing is not abstractly inconceivable, that eggs really have no structure.Winds Of Doctrine|George Santayana
verb (æbˈstrækt) (tr)
Word Origin for abstract
"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.
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Meaning "withdrawn or separated from material objects or practical matters" is from mid-15c.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]