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an abstract or general idea or term.
the act of considering something as a general quality or characteristic, apart from concrete realities, specific objects, or actual instances.
an impractical idea; something visionary and unrealistic.
the act of taking away or separating; withdrawal:
The sensation of cold is due to the abstraction of heat from our bodies.
secret removal, especially theft.
absent-mindedness; inattention; mental absorption.
Fine Arts.

the qualities or characteristics of a work of art.
a work of art, especially a nonrepresentational one, stressing formal relationships.

Contemporary Examples

Only someone already painfully unable to deal with abstraction would draw such a suicidal conclusion.
Richard Hofstadter and America’s New Wave of Anti-Intellectualism David Masciotra March 8, 2014

In the current discourse, these men and women have been reduced to the level of an abstraction—they are “illegals,” or “aliens.”
Gael García Bernal on the Human Drama Behind Anonymous Migrant Dead Gael Garcia Bernal January 25, 2013

Truitt came late to abstraction, by way of pictures of picket fences.
The Maximal Minimalist Blake Gopnik March 28, 2012

It frustrated her to hear other students discussing death as an abstraction, subject to simple moral rules.
The Nurse Coaching People Through Death by Starvation Nick Tabor November 16, 2014

They also met with sculptor Ron Nagle, best known for abstraction.
Fall Won’t Be Dreary for Proenza Schouler Erin Cunningham February 12, 2014

Historical Examples

And the great aim of education is the cultivation of the habit of abstraction.
The Republic Plato

This abstraction is the far-off heaven on which the eye of the mind is fixed in fond amazement.
Symposium Plato

Another change, among those slight differences that she fancied she observed in him, was his abstraction when reading.
The Devil’s Garden W. B. Maxwell

Another says, ‘No, not fire in the abstract, but the abstraction of heat in the fire.’
Cratylus Plato

Regarded as matter, it is a mass; regarded as a force, it is an abstraction.
Toilers of the Sea Victor Hugo

absence of mind; preoccupation
the process of formulating generalized ideas or concepts by extracting common qualities from specific examples
an idea or concept formulated in this way: good and evil are abstractions
(logic) an operator that forms a class name or predicate from any given expression See also lambda calculus
an abstract painting, sculpture, etc
the act of withdrawing or removing

c.1400, “withdrawal from worldly affairs, asceticism,” from Old French abstraction (14c.), from Latin abstractionem (nominative abstractio), noun of action from past participle stem of abstrahere (see abstract (adj.)). Meaning “idea of something that has no actual existence” is from 1640s.

abstraction ab·strac·tion (āb-strāk’shən, əb-)

Distillation or separation of the volatile constituents of a substance.

Exclusive mental concentration; absent-mindedness.

A malocclusion in which the teeth or associated structures are lower than their normal occlusal plane.

The selection of a certain aspect of a concept from the whole.

1. Generalisation; ignoring or hiding details to capture some kind of commonality between different instances. Examples are abstract data types (the representation details are hidden), abstract syntax (the details of the concrete syntax are ignored), abstract interpretation (details are ignored to analyse specific properties).
2. Parameterisation, making something a function of something else. Examples are lambda abstractions (making a term into a function of some variable), higher-order functions (parameters are functions), bracket abstraction (making a term into a function of a variable).
Opposite of concretisation.


Read Also:

  • Abstractionism

    the practice and theory of abstract art. Historical Examples abstractionism of the worst sort dogs Mr. Russell in his own trials to tell positively what the word ‘truth’ means. The Meaning of Truth William James It is precisely this sort of abstractionism which has vitiated so much of value theory. The Value of Money Benjamin […]

  • Abstractionist

    a person who produces abstract works of art. showing abstract characteristics in art; tending toward . Historical Examples But see now how the abstractionist treats this rich and intricate vision that a certain state of things must be true. The Meaning of Truth William James

  • Abstractive

    having the power of . pertaining to an or summary. Historical Examples An abstractive set which satisfies this condition is thus an abstractive set composed wholly of durations. The Concept of Nature Alfred North Whitehead Accordingly an event-particle could cover no other abstractive element. The Concept of Nature Alfred North Whitehead According to my own […]

  • Abstractly

    thought of apart from concrete realities, specific objects, or actual instances: an abstract idea. expressing a quality or characteristic apart from any specific object or instance, as justice, poverty, and speed. theoretical; not applied or practical: abstract science. difficult to understand; abstruse: abstract speculations. Fine Arts. of or relating to the formal aspect of art, […]

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