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Webster's Dictionary 1828 - Online Edition

Webster's Dictionary 1828

Americal Dictionary of the English Language

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Abstraction

ABSTRAC'TION, noun

1. The act of separating, or state of being separated.

2. The operation of the mind when occupied by abstract ideas; as when we contemplate some particular part, or property of a complex object, as separate from the rest. Thus, when the mind considers the branch of a tree by itself, or the color of the leaves, as separate from their size or figure, the act is abstraction so also, when it considers whiteness, softness, virtue, existence, as separate from any particular objects.

The power which the understanding has of separating the combinations which are presented to it, is distinguished by logicians, by the name of abstraction

Abstraction is the ground-work of classification, by which things are arranged in orders, genera, and species. We separate in idea the qualities of certain objects which are of the same kind, from others which are different in each, and arrange the objects having the same properties in a class, or collected body.

3. A separation from worldly objects, a recluse life; as a hermit's abstraction

4. Absence of mind; inattention to present objects.

5. In the process of distillation, the term is used to denote the separation of the volatile parts, which rise, come over, and are condensed in a receiver, from those which are fixed. It is chiefly used, when a fluid is repeatedly poured upon any substance in a retort, and distilled off, to change its state, or the nature of its composition.