An abstraction is something nonspecific, a concept that isn't concrete. It can also refer to the state of mind in which a person is not paying attention to something but is lost in thought or daydreaming.

Abstraction is the noun from the adjective abstract, which derives from the Latin abstrahere "to divert." From that, we can get the idea that an abstraction is something that is drawn away from concrete reality. In the art world, an abstraction is a painting or musical piece created in the style of expressionism, in which a subject is not realistically presented or even recognized, but rather is suggested by an emotional flow of paint or music.

Primary Meanings of abstraction

the process of formulating general concepts by abstracting common properties of instances
the act of withdrawing or removing something
preoccupation with something to the exclusion of all else
an abstract painting
Full Definitions of abstraction

n the process of formulating general concepts by abstracting common properties of instances

generalisation, generalization
Type of:
theorisation, theorization
the production or use of theories

n a general concept formed by extracting common features from specific examples

abstract entity
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psychological feature
a feature of the mental life of a living organism
an abstraction belonging to or characteristic of an entity
group, grouping
any number of entities (members) considered as a unit
an abstraction belonging to or characteristic of two entities or parts together
something that is communicated by or to or between people or groups
amount, measure, quantity
how much there is or how many there are of something that you can quantify
an abstract spiritual world beyond earthly reality
(mathematics) an abstract collection of numbers or symbols
cognition, knowledge, noesis
the psychological result of perception and learning and reasoning
motivation, motive, need
the psychological feature that arouses an organism to action toward a desired goal; the reason for the action; that which gives purpose and direction to behavior
the way something is with respect to its main attributes
form, shape
the spatial arrangement of something as distinct from its substance
the continuum of experience in which events pass from the future through the present to the past
infinite, space
the unlimited expanse in which everything is located
something that happens at a given place and time
anything owned or possessed
social relation
a relation between living organisms (especially between people)
the communication of something to the public; making information generally known
human beings, human race, humanity, humankind, humans, man, mankind, world
all of the living human inhabitants of the earth
human nature
the shared psychological attributes of humankind that are assumed to be shared by all human beings
a distinguishing feature of your personal nature
(genetics) an attribute (structural or functional) that is determined by a gene or group of genes
any attribute or quality considered as having its own existence
common denominator
an attribute that is common to all members of a category
the complex of all the attributes--behavioral, temperamental, emotional and mental--that characterize a unique individual
cheer, cheerfulness, sunniness, sunshine
the quality of being cheerful and dispelling gloom
not conducive to cheer or good spirits
an attribute that tends to give stability in character and morals; something that steadies the mind or feelings
(anthropology) the distinctive spirit of a culture or an era
(anthropology) the distinctive expression of the cognitive or intellectual character of a culture or a social group
an essential and distinguishing attribute of something or someone
a basic or essential attribute shared by all members of a class
heritage, inheritance
any attribute or immaterial possession that is inherited from ancestors
position, spatial relation
the spatial property of a place where or way in which something is situated
chance, probability
a measure of how likely it is that some event will occur; a number expressing the ratio of favorable cases to the whole number of cases possible
the attribute or quality of being deep, strong, or intense
(physics) the smallest discrete quantity of some physical property that a system can possess (according to quantum theory)
a set containing all points (or all real numbers) between two given endpoints
group, mathematical group
a set that is closed, associative, has an identity element and every element has an inverse
a communication (usually brief) that is written or spoken or signaled
contagion, infection
the communication of an attitude or emotional state among a number of people
language, linguistic communication
a systematic means of communicating by the use of sounds or conventional symbols
black and white, written communication, written language
communication by means of written symbols (either printed or handwritten)
content, message, subject matter, substance
what a communication that is about something is about
communication that is suitable for or intended to be instructive
sign, signal, signaling
any nonverbal action or gesture that encodes a message
a public display of a message
indicant, indication
something that serves to indicate or suggest
visual communication
communication that relies on vision
exhibiting openly in public view
expressive style, style
a way of expressing something (in language or art or music etc.) that is characteristic of a particular person or group of people or period
paralanguage, paralinguistic communication
the use of manner of speaking to communicate particular meanings
auditory communication
communication that relies on hearing
phonation, vocalisation, vocalism, vocalization, voice, vox
the sound made by the vibration of vocal folds modified by the resonance of the vocal tract
anomalous communication, psychic communication, psychical communication
communication by paranormal means
something suggestive of speech in being a medium of expression
an orderly grouping (of things or persons) considered as a unit; the result of arranging
a wandering or disorderly grouping (of things or persons)
a basic group of natural objects
biological group
a group of plants or animals
biotic community, community
(ecology) a group of interdependent organisms inhabiting the same region and interacting with each other
(plural) any group of human beings (men or women or children) collectively
social group
people sharing some social relation
accumulation, aggregation, assemblage, collection
several things grouped together or considered as a whole
all of the identical copies of something offered to the public at the same time
electron shell
a grouping of electrons surrounding the nucleus of an atom
ethnic group, ethnos
people of the same race or nationality who share a distinctive culture
people who are believed to belong to the same genetic stock
(ecology) a group of organisms (plants and animals) that live together in a certain geographical region and constitute a community with a few dominant species
cloud, swarm
a group of many things in the air or on the ground
domain, domain of a function
(mathematics) the set of values of the independent variable for which a function is defined
image, range, range of a function
(mathematics) the set of values of the dependent variable for which a function is defined
universal set
(mathematics) the set that contains all the elements or objects involved in the problem under consideration
the set of all points or lines that satisfy or are determined by specific conditions
a distinct and often subordinate group within a group
a set whose members are members of another set; a set contained within another set
null set
a set that is empty; a set with no members
Mandelbrot set
a set of complex numbers that has a highly convoluted fractal boundary when plotted; the set of all points in the complex plane that are bounded under a certain mathematical iteration
mathematical space, topological space
(mathematics) any set of points that satisfy a set of postulates of some kind
(mathematics) a set of elements such that addition and multiplication are commutative and associative and multiplication is distributive over addition and there are two elements 0 and 1
root, solution
the set of values that give a true statement when substituted into an equation
saints collectively
citizenry, people
the body of citizens of a state or country
a group of organisms of the same species inhabiting a given area
hoi polloi, mass, masses, multitude, people, the great unwashed
the common people generally
(mathematics) a set of entries in a square matrix running diagonally either from the upper left to lower right entry or running from the upper right to lower left entry
(Hinduism) the name for the original social division of Vedic people into four groups (which are subdivided into thousands of jatis)
(law) a judicial division of a state or the United States (so-called because originally judges traveled and held court in different locations); one of the twelve groups of states in the United States that is covered by a particular circuit court of appeals
scheme, system
a group of independent but interrelated elements comprising a unified whole
a group of postage stamps having a common theme or a group of coins or currency selected as a group for study or collection
the relation of an owner to the thing possessed; possession with the right to transfer possession to others
a written account of ownership or obligation
economic value, value
the amount (of money or goods or services) that is considered to be a fair equivalent for something else
fundamental measure, fundamental quantity
one of the four quantities that are the basis of systems of measurement
definite quantity
a specific measure of amount
indefinite quantity
an estimated quantity
relative quantity
a quantity relative to some purpose
metric, system of measurement
a system of related measures that facilitates the quantification of some particular characteristic
the amount of wood in an area as measured in cords
octane number, octane rating
a measure of the antiknock properties of gasoline
magnetisation, magnetization
the extent or degree to which something is magnetized
(mathematics) a quantity expressed as the root of another quantity
the amount of 3-dimensional space occupied by an object
a relative amount
a measure of alcoholic strength expressed as an integer twice the percentage of alcohol present (by volume)
the relation between causes and effects
human relationship, relationship
a relation between people; (`relationship' is often used where `relation' would serve, as in `the relationship between inflation and unemployment', but the preferred usage of `relationship' is for human relations or states of relatedness)
a relation such that one thing is dependent on another
a relation resulting from interaction or dependence
logical relation
a relation between propositions
mathematical relation
a relation between mathematical expressions (such as equality or inequality)
the basis on which something is grounded
connectedness, connection, connexion
a relation between things or events (as in the case of one causing the other or sharing features with it)
the lack of a connection between things
linguistic relation
a relation between linguistic forms or constituents
component, component part, constituent, part, portion
something determined in relation to something that includes it
affinity, kinship
a close connection marked by community of interests or similarity in nature or character
family relationship, kinship, relationship
(anthropology) relatedness or connection by blood or marriage or adoption
magnitude relation, quantitative relation
a relation between magnitudes
a relation of constraint of one entity (thing or person or group) by another
business relation
a relation between different business enterprises
reciprocality, reciprocity
a relation of mutual dependence or action or influence
interrelatedness, interrelation, interrelationship
mutual or reciprocal relation or relatedness
temporal relation
a relation involving time
relation based on similarities and differences
oppositeness, opposition
the relation between opposed entities
a relational difference between states; especially between states before and after some event
a point or set of points common to two or more geometric configurations
actinide, actinoid, actinon
any of a series of radioactive elements with atomic numbers 89 through 103
lanthanide, lanthanoid, lanthanon, rare earth, rare-earth element
any element of the lanthanide series (atomic numbers 57 through 71)
any of five related nonmetallic elements (fluorine or chlorine or bromine or iodine or astatine) that are all monovalent and readily form negative ions
time unit, unit of time
a unit for measuring time periods
point, point in time
an instant of time
period of play, play, playing period
(in games or plays or other performances) the time during which play proceeds
interval, time interval
a definite length of time marked off by two instants
Type of:
that which is perceived or known or inferred to have its own distinct existence (living or nonliving)

n a concept or idea not associated with any specific instance

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an abstract idea of that which is due to a person or governmental body by law or tradition or nature
something that is conceived or that exists independently and not in relation to other things; something that does not depend on anything else and is beyond human control; something that is not relative
a personified abstraction that teaches
a special abstraction
the right to obtain or make use of or take advantage of something (as services or membership)
the right in English law of presenting a nominee to a vacant ecclesiastical benefice
the exclusive right of a country to control the air traffic within its borders
claim, title
an informal right to something
that which is deserved or owed
access, accession, admission, admittance, entree
the right to enter
the parliamentary right to address an assembly
a right or privilege that has been granted
human right
(law) any basic right or freedom to which all human beings are entitled and in whose exercise a government may not interfere (including rights to life and liberty as well as freedom of thought and expression and equality before the law)
legal right
a right based in law
pre-emption, preemption
the right to purchase something in advance of others
exclusive right, perquisite, prerogative, privilege
a right reserved exclusively by a particular person or group (especially a hereditary or official right)
(law) the right to refuse to divulge information obtained in a confidential relationship
the right of being represented by delegates who have a voice in some legislative body
right of action
the legal right to sue
right of search
the right of a belligerent to stop neutral ships on the high seas in wartime and search them
right of way
the right of one vehicle or vessel to take precedence over another
states' rights
the rights conceded to the states by the United States constitution
voting right
the right to vote; especially the right of a common shareholder to vote in person or by proxy on the affairs of a company
riparian right, water right
right of access to water
Type of:
concept, conception, construct
an abstract or general idea inferred or derived from specific instances

n the act of withdrawing or removing something

Type of:
remotion, removal
the act of removing

n preoccupation with something to the exclusion of all else

reverie, revery
an abstracted state of absorption
a state of mind characterized by abstraction and release from reality
brown study
a state of deep absorption or thoughtfulness
Type of:
absorption, engrossment, preoccupancy, preoccupation
the mental state of being preoccupied by something

n an abstract painting

Type of:
painting, picture
graphic art consisting of an artistic composition made by applying paints to a surface

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