Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

abstract

[adjective ab-strakt, ab-strakt; noun ab-strakt; verb ab-strakt for 10–13, ab-strakt for 14]
See more synonyms for abstract on Thesaurus.com
adjective
  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.
  3. theoretical; not applied or practical: abstract science.
  4. difficult to understand; abstruse: abstract speculations.
  5. Fine Arts.
    1. 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.
    2. (often initial capital letter)pertaining to the nonrepresentational art styles of the 20th century.
Show More
noun
  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.
  3. an idea or term considered apart from some material basis or object.
  4. an abstract work of art.
Show More
verb (used with object)
  1. to draw or take away; remove.
  2. to divert or draw away the attention of.
  3. to steal.
  4. to consider as a general quality or characteristic apart from specific objects or instances: to abstract the notions of time, space, and matter.
  5. to make an abstract of; summarize.
Show More
Idioms
  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.
Show More

Origin of abstract

1400–50; late Middle English: withdrawn from worldly interests < Latin abstractus drawn off (past participle of abstrahere). See abs-, tract1
Related formsab·stract·er, nounab·stract·ly, adverbab·stract·ness, nounnon·ab·stract, adjective, nounnon·ab·stract·ly, adverbnon·ab·stract·ness, nouno·ver·ab·stract, verb (used with object), adjectivepre·ab·stract, adjectivesu·per·ab·stract, adjectivesu·per·ab·stract·ly, adverbsu·per·ab·stract·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for abstractly

theoretically, abstractly, conceivably, hypothetically

Examples from the Web for abstractly

Contemporary Examples of abstractly

Historical Examples of abstractly

  • Abstractly it is no more important than the other odd thousand we work with.

    The K-Factor

    Harry Harrison (AKA Henry Maxwell Dempsey)

  • We must distinguish between the abstractly typical and the universal.

  • "Abstractly, I of course agree with you," he said haltingly.

    Planet of the Damned

    Harry Harrison

  • Put thus broadly and abstractly, the answer must be negative.

    The Analysis of Mind

    Bertrand Russell

  • Our hero did not believe in brandy, abstractly or concretely.

    Little Bobtail

    Oliver Optic


British Dictionary definitions for abstractly

abstract

adjective (ˈæbstrækt)
  1. having no reference to material objects or specific examples; not concrete
  2. not applied or practical; theoretical
  3. hard to understand; recondite; abstruse
  4. denoting art characterized by geometric, formalized, or otherwise nonrepresentational qualities
  5. defined in terms of its formal propertiesan abstract machine
  6. philosophy (of an idea) functioning for some empiricists as the meaning of a general termthe word ``man'' does not name all men but the abstract idea of manhood
Show More
noun (ˈæbstrækt)
  1. a condensed version of a piece of writing, speech, etc; summary
  2. an abstract term or idea
  3. an abstract painting, sculpture, etc
  4. in the abstract without reference to specific circumstances or practical experience
Show More
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
  3. (ˈæbstrækt) (also intr) to summarize or epitomize
  4. to remove or extract
  5. euphemistic to steal
Show More

Word Origin for 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

Word Origin and History for abstractly

adv.

late 14c., "by itself, absolutely," from abstract (adj.) + -ly (2).

Show More

abstract

n.

"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.

Show More

abstract

v.

1540s, from Latin abstractus or else from the adjective abstract. Related: Abstracted; abstracting, abstractedly.

Show More

abstract

adj.

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]
Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

abstractly in Medicine

abstract

(ăb-străkt, ăbstrăkt′)
adj.
  1. Considered apart from concrete existence.
  2. Not applied or practical; theoretical.
Show More
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.