An abstract idea
Abstract Ab"stract` (#; 277), a. [L. abstractus, p. p. of abstrahere to draw from, separate; ab, abs + trahere to draw. See {Trace}.] 1. Withdraw; separate. [Obs.] [1913 Webster]

The more abstract . . . we are from the body. --Norris. [1913 Webster]

2. Considered apart from any application to a particular object; separated from matter; existing in the mind only; as, abstract truth, abstract numbers. Hence: ideal; abstruse; difficult. [1913 Webster]

3. (Logic) (a) Expressing a particular property of an object viewed apart from the other properties which constitute it; -- opposed to {concrete}; as, honesty is an abstract word. --J. S. Mill. (b) Resulting from the mental faculty of abstraction; general as opposed to particular; as, ``reptile'' is an abstract or general name. --Locke. [1913 Webster]

A concrete name is a name which stands for a thing; an abstract name which stands for an attribute of a thing. A practice has grown up in more modern times, which, if not introduced by Locke, has gained currency from his example, of applying the expression ``abstract name'' to all names which are the result of abstraction and generalization, and consequently to all general names, instead of confining it to the names of attributes. --J. S. Mill. [1913 Webster]

4. Abstracted; absent in mind. ``Abstract, as in a trance.'' --Milton. [1913 Webster]

{An abstract idea} (Metaph.), an idea separated from a complex object, or from other ideas which naturally accompany it; as the solidity of marble when contemplated apart from its color or figure.

{Abstract terms}, those which express abstract ideas, as beauty, whiteness, roundness, without regarding any object in which they exist; or abstract terms are the names of orders, genera or species of things, in which there is a combination of similar qualities.

{Abstract numbers} (Math.), numbers used without application to things, as 6, 8, 10; but when applied to any thing, as 6 feet, 10 men, they become concrete.

{Abstract mathematics} or {Pure mathematics}. See {Mathematics}. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Abstract idea — Idea I*de a, n.; pl. {Ideas}. [L. idea, Gr. ?, fr. ? to see; akin to E. wit: cf. F. id[ e]e. See {Wit}.] 1. The transcript, image, or picture of a visible object, that is formed by the mind; also, a similar image of any object whatever, whether… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • abstract idea — noun An idea separated from a complex object, or from other ideas which naturally accompany it; as the solidity of marble when contemplated apart from its color or figure …   Wiktionary

  • Abstract — Ab stract (#; 277), a. [L. abstractus, p. p. of abstrahere to draw from, separate; ab, abs + trahere to draw. See {Trace}.] 1. Withdraw; separate. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] The more abstract . . . we are from the body. Norris. [1913 Webster] 2.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Abstract mathematics — Abstract Ab stract (#; 277), a. [L. abstractus, p. p. of abstrahere to draw from, separate; ab, abs + trahere to draw. See {Trace}.] 1. Withdraw; separate. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] The more abstract . . . we are from the body. Norris. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Abstract numbers — Abstract Ab stract (#; 277), a. [L. abstractus, p. p. of abstrahere to draw from, separate; ab, abs + trahere to draw. See {Trace}.] 1. Withdraw; separate. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] The more abstract . . . we are from the body. Norris. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Abstract terms — Abstract Ab stract (#; 277), a. [L. abstractus, p. p. of abstrahere to draw from, separate; ab, abs + trahere to draw. See {Trace}.] 1. Withdraw; separate. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] The more abstract . . . we are from the body. Norris. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Idea — Plato, one of the first philosophers to discuss ideas in detail. For other uses, see Idea (disambiguation). In the most narrow sense, an idea is just whatever is before the mind when one thinks. Very often, ideas are construed as representational …   Wikipedia

  • abstract — abstracts, abstracting, abstracted (The adjective and noun are pronounced [[t]æ̱bstrækt[/t]]. The verb is pronounced [[t]æbstræ̱kt[/t]].) 1) ADJ GRADED An abstract idea or way of thinking is based on general ideas rather than on real things and… …   English dictionary

  • abstract — abstracter, n. abstractly, adv. abstractness, n. adj. /ab strakt , ab strakt/; n. /ab strakt/; v. /ab strakt / for 11 14, /ab strakt/ for 15, adj. 1. thought of apart from concrete realities, specific objects, or actual instances: an abstract… …   Universalium

  • abstract — ab•stract adj. [[t]æbˈstrækt, ˈæb strækt[/t]] n. [[t]ˈæb strækt[/t]] v. [[t]æbˈstrækt[/t]] for 11 14, [[t]ˈæb strækt[/t]] for 15 adj. 1) thought of apart from concrete realities, specific objects, or actual instances: an abstract idea[/ex] 2)… …   From formal English to slang

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