Webster's Dictionary 1828 - Online Edition

Webster's Dictionary 1828

Americal Dictionary of the English Language

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ABSTRACT', verb transitive [Latin abstraho, to draw from or separate; from abs and traho, which is the Eng. draw. See Draw.]

1. To draw from, or to separate; as to abstract an action from its evil effects; to abstract spirit from any substance by distillation; but in this sense extract is now more generally used.

2. To separate ideas by the operation of the mind; to consider one part of a complex object, or to have a partial idea of it in the mind.

3. To select or separate the substance of a book or writing; to epitomize or reduce to a summary.

4. In chimistry, to separate, as the more volatile parts of a substance by repeated distillation, or at least by distillation.

AB'STRACT, adjective [Latin abstractus.]

1. separate; distinct from something else. An abstract idea, in metaphysics, is an idea separated from a complex object, or from other ideas which naturally accompany it, as the solidity of marble contemplated apart from its color or figure.

ABSTRACT terms are those which express abstract ideas, as beauty, whiteness, roundness, without regarding any subject 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 are numbers used without application to things, as, 6, 8, 10: but when applied to anything, as 6 feet, 10 men, they become concrete.

ABSTRACT or pure mathematics, is that which treats of magnitude or quantity, without restriction to any species of particular magnitude, as arithmetic and geometry; opposed to

which is mixed mathematics, which treats of simple properties,

and the relations of quantity, as applied to sensible objects, as hydrostatics, navigation, optics, etc.

2. Separate, existing in the mind only; as an abstract subject; an abstract question: and hence difficult, abstruse.


1. A summary, or epitome, containing the substance, a general view, or the principal heads of a treatise or writing.

2. Formerly, an extract, or a smaller quantity, containing the essence of a larger.

In the abstract in a state of separation, as a subject considered in the abstract i. e. without reference to particular persons or things.