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ab·stract (ăb-străkt, ăbstrăkt)
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adj.
1. Considered apart from concrete existence: an abstract concept.
2. Not applied or practical; theoretical.
3. Difficult to understand; abstruse: abstract philosophical problems.
4. Denoting something that is immaterial, conceptual, or nonspecific, as an idea or quality: abstract words like truth and justice.
5. Impersonal, as in attitude or views.
6. Having an intellectual and affective artistic content that depends solely on intrinsic form rather than on narrative content or pictorial representation: abstract painting and sculpture.
n. (ăbstrăkt)
1. A statement summarizing the important points of a text.
2. Something abstract.
3. An abstract of title.
tr.v. (ăb-străkt) ab·stract·ed, ab·stract·ing, ab·stracts
1.
a. To take away; remove: abstract the most important data from a set of records.
b. To remove without permission; steal: a painting that was abstracted from the museum.
2. To consider (an idea, for example) as separate from particular examples or objects: abstract a principle of arrangement from a series of items.
3. (ăbstrăkt) To write a summary of; summarize: abstract a long article in a paragraph.
4. To create artistic abstractions of (something else, such as a concrete object or another style): "The Bauhaus Functionalists were ... busy unornamenting and abstracting modern architecture, painting and design" (John Barth).
Idiom:
in the abstract
In a way that is conceptual or theoretical, as opposed to actual or empirical.

[Middle English, from Latin abstractus, past participle of abstrahere, to draw away : abs-, ab-, away; see AB-1 + trahere, to draw.]

ab·stracter n.
ab·stractly adv.
ab·stractness n.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

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