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Abstraction   Listen
noun
Abstraction  n.  
1.
The act of abstracting, separating, or withdrawing, or the state of being withdrawn; withdrawal. "A wrongful abstraction of wealth from certain members of the community."
2.
(Metaph.) The act process of leaving out of consideration one or more properties of a complex object so as to attend to others; analysis. Thus, when the mind considers the form of a tree by itself, or the color of the leaves as separate from their size or figure, the act is called abstraction. So, also, when it considers whiteness, softness, virtue, existence, as separate from any particular objects. Note: Abstraction is necessary to classification, by which things are arranged in 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. "Abstraction is no positive act: it is simply the negative of attention."
3.
An idea or notion of an abstract, or theoretical nature; as, to fight for mere abstractions.
4.
A separation from worldly objects; a recluse life; as, a hermit's abstraction.
5.
Absence or absorption of mind; inattention to present objects.
6.
The taking surreptitiously for one's own use part of the property of another; purloining. (Modern)
7.
(Chem.) A separation of volatile parts by the act of distillation.






Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48








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"Abstraction" Quotes from Famous Books



... part of Barker's speech completely, in her fit of abstraction, had some vague idea that he was asking her advice about marrying some ...
— Doctor Claudius, A True Story • F. Marion Crawford

... promise not to. Oh, Bayard," she cried—and in his abstraction he did not notice the name she gave him—"I am afraid myself! I am horribly afraid about ...
— Jason • Justus Miles Forman

... while to discuss, like sophisters, whether in no case some evil for the sake of some benefit is to be tolerated. Nothing universal can be rationally affirmed on any moral or any political subject. Pure metaphysical abstraction does not belong to these matters. The lines of morality are not like the ideal lines of mathematics. They are broad and deep as well as long. They admit of exceptions; they demand modifications. These exceptions and modifications are not made ...
— The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. IV. (of 12) • Edmund Burke

... at once. For a moment or two her manner seemed to indicate that she did not hear the questions of the girl in bed. Then, as if suddenly rescuing her mind from thoughts that appealed to have carried her away into some far distant abstraction, she replied thus, in a ...
— Campfire Girls in the Allegheny Mountains - or, A Christmas Success against Odds • Stella M. Francis

... could not restrain the tide of the sea, but Sagara-raga, his descendant, who begat a thousand royal sons, he could control the tide of the great sea so that it should come no further. Ganaka, the Rishi, without a teacher acquired power of abstraction. All these, who obtained such renown, acquired powers of themselves; those distinguished before, were afterwards forgotten; those before forgotten, became afterwards distinguished; kings like these and god-like Rishis have no need of family inheritance, and therefore the world need not ...
— Sacred Books of the East • Various

... had, by false entries, been defrauded within the four years next preceding March, 1853, of the sum of $198,000. The great difficulty with which the detection of these frauds has been attended, in consequence of the abstraction of books and papers by the retiring officers, and the facility with which similar frauds in the public service may be perpetrated render the necessity of new legal enactments in the respects above referred ...
— State of the Union Addresses of Franklin Pierce • Franklin Pierce

... by the complicated character of his subject, subsided into a fit of abstraction, during which he took a copious pull at ...
— The International Monthly, Volume 3, No. 1, April, 1851 • Various

... incumbered with a heavy carpet-bag, he started resignedly on his two-mile tramp without begrudging the neighborly act of his wife which had deprived him of his horse. It was "like her" to do these things in her good-humored abstraction, an abstraction, however, that sometimes worried him, from the fear that it indicated some unhappiness with her present lot. He was longing to rejoin her after his absence of three days, the longest time ...
— Mr. Jack Hamlin's Mediation and Other Stories • Bret Harte

... Boulogne, the property of the New Commercial Steam-Packet Company, on Monday appeared at the Mansion House to answer the complaint of the directors of that company, by whom he was charged with being privy to the abstraction of four packages, each containing gold, checks on bankers, bank-notes, and bills of exchange, which had been previously booked at the company's office in Boulogne, and paid for according to the rates agreed upon by the ...
— The Economist - Volume 1, No. 3 • Various

... who are directly or indirectly indebted to the Upanishads, far from realising their debt, maintain that the Brahma of India is a mere abstraction, a negation of all that is in the world. In a word, that the Infinite Being is to be found nowhere except in metaphysics. It may be, that such a doctrine has been and still is prevalent with a section of our countrymen. But this is certainly not in accord with the pervading spirit of the ...
— Sadhana - The Realisation of Life • Rabindranath Tagore

... to the malorganization of society, has shown itself in a strange and ominous indulgence to crime. It was the old fashion, he says, upon hearing of any enormity, to level our indignation against the perpetrator; it is now the mode, to direct it against that culpable abstraction, society. Society is, indeed, the sole culprit. When the novelist has detailed some horrible assassination, or gross adultery, he exclaims, Behold what society has done! The criminal himself passes scathless; if, indeed, he may not put in a claim ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 56, Number 349, November, 1844 • Various

... evenings; who puts the weight at the University Sports and conducts the lady home from a College wine without a stain on her character; is rusticated for a year or so; returns to win the Newdigate and leaves without taking a degree. Or that other delightful abstraction—he has a Balliol accent too—with literary tastes and artistic rooms, where gambling takes place. He is invariably a coward, but dreadfully fascinating all the same; though he scorns women he has an hypnotic influence over them; something in his polished Oxford ...
— Masques & Phases • Robert Ross

... Paris. He was a man admirably well adapted to the reigning system: that is to say, having a very general acquaintance with facts, coupled with a total absence of principles in matters of government; calling every fixed rule mere abstraction, and placing his conscience in devotion to the reigning power. The first time I saw him, he told me that talents like mine were made to celebrate the emperor, who was a subject well worthy of the kind of enthusiasm which I had shown in Corinna. I gave him for answer, that persecuted ...
— Ten Years' Exile • Anne Louise Germaine Necker, Baronne (Baroness) de Stael-Holstein

... have opened the drawer in a fit of abstraction during which he had forgotten Undershaw's presence. But, if so, the act roused him, and he looked round half angrily, half furtively at his visitor, as he ...
— The Mating of Lydia • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... of seasickness. Fortunately the good ship Buford ploughed her way across the Pacific without meeting another swell, and our pride was not humbled again. We ate quite sparingly for a meal or two, and had fits of abstraction, gazing at the ceiling when extra-odorous dishes were placed in front of us. The Radcliffe girls said that they had passed a strenuous night, engaged in wild manoeuvres to obtain possession of the ...
— A Woman's Impression of the Philippines • Mary Helen Fee

... That will bring those 163 old gentlemen to life again and double their remaining term of years to make up for their temporary effacement. They are patriotic hostages to Time for the summer only. You must remember that time is only a philosophical abstraction, with no real or tangible existence, and we have a right to do whatever we ...
— Mince Pie • Christopher Darlington Morley

... been staring up at the old brick houses now and then, in his deep abstraction, bestowing a wink upon some healthy-looking servant girl as she drew up a blind, or threw open a bedroom window, when the green gate of a garden at the bottom of the yard opened, and a man having emerged therefrom, closed the green gate very carefully after ...
— The Pickwick Papers • Charles Dickens

... as it should have been; and the poet stood motionless in dreamy abstraction, until an usher took his coupons and turned down seven seats. Then the six daughters filed in, and the poet, slowly turning to survey the house, started slightly, as though surprised to find himself under public scrutiny, passed a large, ...
— Iole • Robert W. Chambers

... hands of other nations, this being true notwithstanding the fact that the two countries have natural resources greater than other countries similar in size.... Mere abstract, unused education means little for a race or individual. An ounce of application is worth a ton of abstraction. We must not be afraid to pay the price of success in business—the price of sleepless nights, the price of toil when others rest, the price of planning to-day for to-morrow, this year for next year. If some one else endures the hardships, does the thinking, and ...
— Booker T. Washington - Builder of a Civilization • Emmett J. Scott and Lyman Beecher Stowe

... dare say we'll soon overhaul the ship now, for we're more than an hour and a half in chase of her at full speed," remarked the skipper, recovering himself from his fit of abstraction and looking at his watch to see the time. "Go on, colonel; go on, please, and tell us the end of ...
— The Ghost Ship - A Mystery of the Sea • John C. Hutcheson

... singular power of abstraction. When occupied with some difficult problem, or even a train of thought which deeply interested her, she lost all consciousness of what went on around her, and became so entirely absorbed that any amount of talking, or even practising ...
— Personal Recollections, from Early Life to Old Age, of Mary Somerville • Mary Somerville

... yeoman, an outlaw living in the woods, and noted for his skill in archery. Previous researches had proved, that many of our old ballads are merely rhyming records of historical events. Mr Hunter had already rescued one ballad-hero, Adam Bell, from the 'danger of being reduced to an abstraction or a myth;' and it now remained for him to undertake the same good office for a ...
— Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 452 - Volume 18, New Series, August 28, 1852 • Various

... legs, made him lie at full length along the seat farthest from the engine and the motor-cyclists. Next, he drew down the little corner-blinds of each window, leaving the door-blinds up; then sat down again resuming his attitude of abstraction. ...
— Ambrotox and Limping Dick • Oliver Fleming

... even as it had seemed for Addie Tristram. The motto ran in his head—Per Ensem Justitia. What was the justice and what the sword? He awoke to the cause of the changed mood in him and of the agitation in which he had been living. It was nothing to defy the law, to make light of a dry abstraction, to find right against it in his blood. His opponent now was no more the law, it was no more even some tiresome, unknown, unrealized girl in London, with surroundings most unpicturesque and associations that had no power to touch his heart. Here was the enemy, this creature ...
— Tristram of Blent - An Episode in the Story of an Ancient House • Anthony Hope

... of applying number and measure to the revolution of the heavens, and to the regulation of human life. In the return to a doctrine of numbers there is a retrogression rather than an advance; for the most barren logical abstraction is of a higher nature than number and figure. Philosophy fades away into the distance; in the Laws it is confined to the members of the Nocturnal Council. The speculative truth which was the food of the guardians in the Republic, is for the majority of the citizens to be ...
— Laws • Plato

... more than the biography of great men. Through a succession of individuals we trace the character and destiny of nations. THE PEOPLE glide away from us, a sublime but intangible abstraction, and the voice of the mighty Agora reaches us only through the medium of its representatives to posterity. The more democratic the state, the more prevalent this delegation of its history to the few; since it is the prerogative of democracies to give ...
— Athens: Its Rise and Fall, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... exchanged smiles, which Darrell in his momentary abstraction failed to observe. They chatted pleasantly for a few moments, but underneath the light words and manner was a sadness that could not be disguised, and it was with a still heavier heart that Darrell returned to his work after Kate ...
— At the Time Appointed • A. Maynard Barbour

... from it only made her look still more altered. All this undercurrent of annoyance and distress added continually to the change in her face: gradually its expression grew more grave; she smiled less frequently; had fits of abstraction and reverie, which she had never been ...
— Hetty's Strange History • Anonymous

... frame of mind they walked nearly the whole length of the departure platform, and at the western extremity became aware of a slender figure standing back against a pillar. The figure was plainly sunk into a deep abstraction; he was not aware of their approach, but gazed far abroad over the sunlit ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. 7 (of 25) • Robert Louis Stevenson

... in a fit of abstraction the juvenile George cut down Bushrod's favorite cherry tree with a hatchet. His ...
— Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, Vol. 12, No. 32, November, 1873 • Various

... to Hick Scorner and see the new principle of characterization at work. How much of the old is blended with it may be seen in the opening speech, which is delivered by as colourless an abstraction as ever advocated a virtuous life in the Moralities. A good old man, Pity, sits alone, describing himself to his hearers. To him comes Contemplation, and shortly afterwards Perseverance, both younger men but just as undeniably 'Virtues'. Each explains his nature to the audience ...
— The Growth of English Drama • Arnold Wynne

... art studies that afternoon with a certain abstraction. Peachy worked with her left wrist poised, so that she could obtain a perpetual view of the new gold watch that had arrived by post that morning; Delia frittered her time shamelessly; Esther was guilty of writing surreptitious messages to Joan upon the edges ...
— The Jolliest School of All • Angela Brazil

... sparkling flame, but the sullen heat of a furnace. He is power, passion, self-will personified. In all that relates to the descriptive or fanciful part of poetry, he bears no comparison to many who had gone before, or who have come after him; but there is a gloomy abstraction in his conceptions, which lies like a dead weight upon the mind—a benumbing stupor, a breathless awe, from the intensity of the impression—a terrible obscurity, like that which oppresses us in ...
— English literary criticism • Various

... remarkable compliment to his abstraction that Andrew paused involuntarily in his ...
— Better Dead • J. M. Barrie

... of course recollected that in this abstraction of the moral sense, we have to abstract it from the characters as ...
— Is Life Worth Living? • William Hurrell Mallock

... faith, truly," said Leo, looking after him, "to dwell through aeons in monotonous misery in order that consciousness may be swallowed up at last in some void and formless abstraction called the 'Utter Peace.' I would rather take my share of a bad world and keep my hope of a better. Also I do not think that he knows anything ...
— Ayesha - The Further History of She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed • H. Rider Haggard

... more intolerable. Mrs. Starling was far out in one of her suppositions. Will Flandin came a good deal about the house, it is true; but Diana hardly knew he was there. If she thought about it at all, she was half glad, because his presence might serve to mask her silence and abstraction. She was conscious of both, and the effort to cover the one and hide the other ...
— Diana • Susan Warner

... broke into his abstraction. "Seems like I've had beans before, this week, but I'll try ...
— The Phantom Herd • B. M. Bower

... at his daughter with eyes from which the hardness that entered them weeks before in the Temple Courts had never quite disappeared. His face was worn and thin, its delicacy had sharpened, and he carried about with him an habitual abstraction. Janet, regarding him day after day in the light of her secret knowledge, gave herself up to an inward storm of anger and grief and anxiety. Elfrida's name had been tacitly dropped between them, but to Janet's sensitiveness she was constantly and painfully to be reckoned with in their common ...
— A Daughter of To-Day • Sara Jeannette Duncan (aka Mrs. Everard Cotes)

... rejected more completely all those ministrations of humanity which relieve the horrible isolation of the condemned cell. Grassette's isolation was complete. He lived in a dream, did what little there was to do in a dark abstraction, and sat hour after hour, as he was sitting now, piercing, with a brain at once benumbed to all outer things and afire with inward things, those realms of memory which are infinite in a life of ...
— The Judgment House • Gilbert Parker

... govern psychical phenomena are as occult as the abstraction of the "fourth division of space"; and they defy the realism of common-place probability, mock all analysis, and annihilate distance. When Beryl had first met the keen scrutiny of Mr. Dunbar's glittering blue eyes, their baleful influence ...
— At the Mercy of Tiberius • August Evans Wilson

... the fields at noon—they steadfastly refused to burden the harassed family with three extra mouths to feed—Sarah noticed her sister's abstraction. ...
— Rainbow Hill • Josephine Lawrence

... alone creating by a glance and by a motion of his hand Eve, the full-formed and conscious woman, he is proclaimed the Maker who from all eternity has held the thought of the material universe within his mind. Raphael does not depart from this conception. The profound abstraction of Michel Angelo ruled his intellect, and received from his genius a form of perhaps greater grace. A similar growth from the germinal designs of the Pisani may be traced ...
— Sketches and Studies in Italy and Greece, Complete - Series I, II, and III • John Symonds

... de Sully was subject to frequent fits of abstraction. One day, having dressed himself to go to church, he forgot nothing but his breeches. This was in the winter; when he entered the church, he said, "Mon Dieu, it is very cold to-day." The persons present said, "Not colder than usual!"—"Then I am in a fever," he said. ...
— Marguerite de Navarre - Memoirs of Marguerite de Valois Queen of Navarre • Marguerite de Navarre

... angels are in peace." Round her image, the reflection of purity and truth and forbearing love, was grouped that confused scene of trouble and effort, of failure and success, which the poet saw round him; round her image it arranged itself in awful order—and that image, not a metaphysical abstraction, but the living memory, freshened by sorrow, and seen through the softening and hallowing vista of years, of Beatrice Portinari—no figment of imagination, but God's creature and servant. A childish love, dissipated by heavy sorrow—a boyish resolution, ...
— The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 07 • Various

... also; an example is found in the ego as a self-intuiting being). Philosophy, indeed, may abstract and must abstract, must rise above that which is given—for how could she explain life and particular knowledge if she assumed no higher standpoint than her object?—but true abstraction is nothing other than the separation of factors which in experience always present themselves together; it analyzes empirical consciousness in order to reconstruct it from its elements, it causes empirical consciousness to arise before our eyes, it is a pragmatic history of consciousness. ...
— History Of Modern Philosophy - From Nicolas of Cusa to the Present Time • Richard Falckenberg

... the library where Madame Proudfit and Miss Clementina had been in consultation with their lawyer. We were all rather silent as Madame Proudfit sat at the urn and the lawyer handed our cups down some long avenue of his abstraction. And now everything seemed to me a kind of setting for Delia and Abel, and Calliope kept looking at them as if, before her eyes, things might come right. So, I own, did I, though in the Proudfit library it was usually difficult ...
— Friendship Village • Zona Gale

... comprehend under the term eventualities whatever may happen in the universe, dating from the moment at which he speaks. Democratic writers are perpetually coining words of this kind, in which they sublimate into further abstraction the abstract terms of the language. Nay, more, to render their mode of speech more succinct, they personify the subject of these abstract terms, and make it act like a real entity. Thus they would say in French, "La force des choses veut que ...
— Democracy In America, Volume 2 (of 2) • Alexis de Tocqueville

... hair, and clear blue eyes, a pert, cheerful face, a wide, smiling mouth and an impudently up-tilted nose. He realized that this image was merely a sort of allegorical representation, his own private object-abstraction from a reality which his senses could never ...
— Dearest • Henry Beam Piper

... over-active owing to their thermic environment, and the thermotaxic balance being habitually anomalous, the emergency was not successfully encountered; and this was more particularly the case because the nerve-centres of vital resistance to sudden and extreme thermal abstraction were atrophied." ...
— A Strange Discovery • Charles Romyn Dake

... answered Bart, rousing himself from the dreamy abstraction in which he had been indulging, as he sat looking into the decaying fire—"don't know, exactly; but it has got a considerable piece into the night. About nine o'clock, guess; ...
— The Rangers - [Subtitle: The Tory's Daughter] • D. P. Thompson

... In her abstraction Elza had almost forgotten herself and Tarrano; his voice reached her—his voice grim and with a gloating, sinister triumph in it. He was bending to the ground. Elza saw that they had come to an open space—an eminence ...
— Tarrano the Conqueror • Raymond King Cummings

... aesthetics, as the faculties of man, are certain dependencies, connections, affinities, penetrations, which render an abstraction of one of them almost impossible. Thus I have anticipated allusions to the Beautiful in considering the Good. By thus connecting them, the better to distinguish them, I have reached the conclusion that moral evil should never be manifested in ...
— Delsarte System of Oratory • Various

... her way. His dark, mysterious face with its background of abstraction, his unusual life, distinguished presence, and the fact that people of great note sought his conversation, all strengthened the bonds, and deepened her imagination; and imagination is at the root of ...
— The Judgment House • Gilbert Parker

... sleep and a rest than living. Well, but in the above instances, even those most remote from sordid individuality, we have fallen far short of that ideal in which the very conception of the partial, the atomic, is lost in the abstraction of universal being, transfigured in the glory of a Divine personality. You are familiar with Swedenborg's distinction between discrete and continuous degrees. Hitherto we have seen how man—the individual—may rise continuously ...
— Five Years Of Theosophy • Various

... Mr. Fox, it is a distinctive characteristic of the Tory, to attach more importance to the person of the King than to his office. But, assuredly, the Tory is not singular in this want of political abstraction; and, in England, (from a defect, Hume thinks, inherent in all limited monarchies,) the personal qualities and opinions of the Sovereign have considerable influence upon the whole course of public affairs,—being felt alike in that courtly sphere around them ...
— Memoirs of the Life of Rt. Hon. Richard Brinsley Sheridan Vol 2 • Thomas Moore

... born after his time, and worthy to have lived and acted in the high and palmy days of Venice. After attending the archduke to the steps of the dais at the upper end of the hall, he made his bow, and began to pace the floor in seeming abstraction from the gay scene around him. Arrested in his progress by the numerous groups which, after saluting the archduke, had again collected around the counsellor's lady, he paused in returning conciousness; and, looking for the cause of such unwonted attraction, was enabled, by his lofty stature, ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, No. 341, March, 1844, Vol. 55 • Various

... face—(the index of that excellent part of him)—has, for the moment, undergone a complete change. Any ordinary acquaintance now entering the professor's rooms (and those acquaintances might be whittled down to quite a little few), would hardly have known him. For the abstraction that, as a rule, characterizes his features—the way he has of looking at you, as if he doesn't see you, that harasses the simple, and enrages the others—is all gone! Not a trace of it remains. It has given place to ...
— A Little Rebel - A Novel • Margaret Wolfe Hungerford

... us forth and beat us down; gravity that swings the incommensurable suns and worlds through space, is but a figment varying inversely as the squares of distances; and the suns and worlds themselves, imponderable figures of abstraction, NH3, and H2O. Consideration dares not dwell upon this view; that way madness lies; science carries us into zones of speculation, where there is no habitable city for the mind ...
— Across The Plains • Robert Louis Stevenson

... on the mantelpiece it was nearly six. Godwin did not resume his seat, though Sidwell had done so. He looked towards the window, and was all but lost in abstraction, when the soft voice ...
— Born in Exile • George Gissing

... of to-day is no mere abstraction—as it was, perhaps, in the days of Brook Farm. It is a mode of action. Men whose view of life is perfectly balanced rarely soil themselves with the dust of battle. The heat necessary to produce social conflict (and social ...
— The Friendly Road - New Adventures in Contentment • (AKA David Grayson) Ray Stannard Baker

... age, tall and spare of figure, and with high, stern features of the severest Spanish type. In his eyes, when from time to time he paused in his reading and gazed absently before him, there was a look of wild abstraction, as of one who lives in a world of dreams and shadows. One hand, with bony, nervous fingers, rested on the open page; with the other he grasped his sword, which lay sheathed ...
— Children's Literature - A Textbook of Sources for Teachers and Teacher-Training Classes • Charles Madison Curry

... his manner that impressed me disagreeably. He affected to be continually falling into fits of abstraction, as if his communings with the spirits were diverting his attention from the affairs of earth. Even on his entrance he went through the forms of greeting his host and hostess as though scarcely conscious of their presence. I caught ...
— The International Spy - Being the Secret History of the Russo-Japanese War • Allen Upward

... gentleman's arm to conduct her properly out of a dining or ball-room,—so long as she shall consider it dangerous or unbecoming to walk half a mile alone by night,—I cannot see how the 'Woman's Rights' theory is ever to be anything more than a logically defensible abstraction. In this view Margaret did not at all concur, and the diversity was the incitement to much perfectly good-natured, but nevertheless sharpish sparring between us. Whenever she said or did anything implying the usual demand of Woman on the courtesy and protection of ...
— Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli, Vol. II • Margaret Fuller Ossoli

... don't seem to see," said a voice, which to Lord Henry appeared to reveal the arrogance of its owner, "is that your Inner Light is but a vague and vapid abstraction, a mere whiff of the whisky bottle, but not ...
— Too Old for Dolls - A Novel • Anthony Mario Ludovici

... abstraction, he said: "Yes, we will go! It is time that my Natalie was introduced into this circle of influential Romans, that she may gain friends among people of importance, who may watch over and protect her ...
— The Daughter of an Empress • Louise Muhlbach

... sophism in legislation is not a mere abstraction; it must speedily bear fruit in material results of the most disastrous nature, and I implore your honorable committee, in behalf of our common country, not to open a Pandora's box by way of experiment from whence so much evil must issue, and which once opened ...
— History of Woman Suffrage, Volume III (of III) • Various

... hand. It was done so mechanically that it made no more impression on my mind than the thrusting of an advertisement upon me. Indeed, I supposed it was an advertisement, and I only wonder that I retained it in my hand at all. But that I did do so, and that, in a moment of abstraction, I went so far as to pin it to my cushion, is evident from the fact that a vague memory remains in my mind of having read this recipe which you see printed on the reverse side ...
— Room Number 3 - and Other Detective Stories • Anna Katharine Green

... gets him with his back to the wall. He vanishes in the shining cloud of a witty abstraction when cornered. His prose is full of winged neologisms, his poetry heavy with the metaphysics of ennui. Remy de Gourmont speaks of his magnificent work as the prelude to an oratorio achieved in silence. Laforgue, himself, called it an intermezzo, and in truth it is little more. His intellectual ...
— Ivory Apes and Peacocks • James Huneker

... eternal force. We should rather think of it as a revelation and an invitation than as a mere command. For what is it but the declaration that at the centre of things is throned, not a rabble of godlings, nor a stony impersonal somewhat, nor a hypothetical unknowable entity, nor a shadowy abstraction, but a living Person, who can say 'Me,' and whom we can call on as 'Thou,' and be sure that He hears? No accumulation of finite excellences, however fair, can satisfy the imagination, which feels after ...
— Expositions of Holy Scripture - Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers • Alexander Maclaren

... Mahometans; [38] and in every state he defended with equal zeal the divine light of Mount Thabor, a memorable question which consummates the religious follies of the Greeks. The fakirs of India, [39] and the monks of the Oriental church, were alike persuaded, that in the total abstraction of the faculties of the mind and body, the purer spirit may ascend to the enjoyment and vision of the Deity. The opinion and practice of the monasteries of Mount Athos [40] will be best represented in the words of an abbot, ...
— The History of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire - Volume 6 • Edward Gibbon

... of Ideas has been erected, without having previously established that they are capable of such confederation. A wearisome catalogue of faculties, many of which are conjectural, has been enumerated; Abstraction, Conception, Contemplation, Consciousness, Comparison, Imagination, Judgment, Memory, Recollection, Reminiscence, Retention, Perception, Sensation, Reflection, Thought, Understanding, Volition, and many others that caprice has created, or a ...
— On the Nature of Thought - or, The act of thinking and its connexion with a perspicuous sentence • John Haslam

... absent kind of way, I became irritated at the painfully slow rate of progress. It was all an old familiar experience, the deep thought, lessening pace, and consequent irritation. The indolent brute I imagined myself riding was, as usual, taking advantage of his rider's abstraction; but I would soon "feelingly persuade" him that I was not so far gone as to lose sight of the difference between a swinging gallop and a walk. So, elevating my umbrella, I dealt the side of the omnibus a sounding blow, very much to the astonishment of my fellow-passengers. ...
— The Naturalist in La Plata • W. H. Hudson

... The element of abstraction disappears, or rather retires into the background, when we pass to Beatrix. She also has the Ewigweibliche in her—as much of it as any, or almost any, of Shakespeare's women, and therefore more than anybody else's. But ...
— Henry Esmond; The English Humourists; The Four Georges • William Makepeace Thackeray

... would answer none of my questions. He only gave a ghastly smile when I asked if the vessel at which he had fired had sunk; and he then took up a book, in which he soon seemed to be deeply absorbed. After some time the book dropped from his hand, and he sat for half-an-hour in a state of abstraction, unconscious of where he was, or who ...
— Peter the Whaler • W.H.G. Kingston

... past, in which he holds out models for our imitation; while Emerson sees in it only fingerposts for the future, and exhorts his readers to stay at home lest they should wander from themselves. The one loves detail, hates abstraction, delights to dwell on the minutiae of biography, and waxes eloquent even on dates. The other, a brilliant though not always a profound generaliser, tells us that we must "leave a too close and lingering adherence to facts, and study the sentiment as it appeared in hope not in history ...
— Thomas Carlyle - Biography • John Nichol

... of a storage battery consists of the changing of the spongy lead and lead peroxide into lead sulphate, and the abstraction of the acid from the electrolyte. Considered electrically, the changes are more complex, and require further investigation. The voltage, internal resistance, rate of discharge, capacity, and other features ...
— The Automobile Storage Battery - Its Care And Repair • O. A. Witte

... he hurried down the street, then halted to pity the flowers massed pallid under the gaslight of the market-hall. For himself, the sea and the sunlight opened great spaces tomorrow. The moon was full above the river. He looked at it as a man in abstraction watches some clear thing; then he came to a standstill. It was useless to hurry to his train. The traffic swung past the lamplight shone warm on all the golden faces; but Siegmund had already left the city. His face was silver and shadows to the moon; the ...
— The Trespasser • D.H. Lawrence

... imaginary pinions. And in this way he regained peace of mind and animal composure, conscious of his limbs, conscious of the sight of his eyes, conscious that the air had a cool taste, like a fruit, at the top of his throat; and at last, in complete abstraction, he began to sing. The Doctor had but one air—"Malbrouck s'en va-t-en guerre"; even with that he was on terms of mere politeness; and his musical exploits were always reserved for moments when he was alone ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. 6 (of 25) • Robert Louis Stevenson

... were silent; Lyle, in her abstraction, loosened her hair, and it fell around her like a veil of fine-spun gold. An idea suddenly occurred to Miss Gladden, and rising from her chair, she gathered up the golden mass, and began ...
— The Award of Justice - Told in the Rockies • A. Maynard Barbour

... sitting at his desk in intense abstraction; but he soon observed me standing before him, and quickly arose with a hearty welcome, such as he ...
— Money Island • Andrew Jackson Howell, Jr.

... of an hour of my walk, I must have been unconsciously retracing my steps towards the house of Margaret's aunt. I came in sight of it again, just as the sound of the neighbouring church clocks, striking eleven, roused me from my abstraction. More cabs were in the street; more people were gathered about the door, by this time. Was all this bustle, the bustle of arrival or of departure? Was the party about to break up, at an hour when parties usually begin? I determined to go nearer to the house, ...
— Basil • Wilkie Collins

... at himself, and at all who, having given time and thought to the study of life's complicated problems, had not reached one step further than the Old-World thinkers. Perhaps he would quote one of his favourite philosophers, and then suddenly relapse into silence, returning to his wonted abstraction and to his indifference to his surroundings. Helen Stanley had learned to understand his ways and to appreciate his mind, and, without intruding on him in any manner, had put herself gently into ...
— Stories By English Authors: London • Various

... to many readers because of its great divergence from the usual psychological treatment. The child's mind is considered as having four primary processes, namely: (1) Sense Impressions, (2) Recollections of Sense Impressions, (3) Association Channels (4) Abstraction Processes. As the child grows older these are elaborated into Imagination, Reasoning, and Expression. Attention is of three kinds: (1) Homogeneous Attention or concentrating, which consists in attending to one thing for a period of time; (2) Simultaneous Attention or observing, which consists ...
— The Journal of Abnormal Psychology - Volume 10

... been scolded, and had thereupon put on his hat again and walked out. Several persons on the one hand corroborated this story, whilst on the other his aunt was positive that, although at that moment he had fallen into a strange fit of abstraction, he had never left the table. This is the narrative, attested by a gentleman now living. The year 184— is not so far back; perhaps there are still those residing on the upper side of the turf at ...
— Welsh Folk-Lore - a Collection of the Folk-Tales and Legends of North Wales • Elias Owen

... its rise. While Anu, with whom there was associated as a pale reflection a consort Antum, assigned to him under the influence of the widely prevalent view among the early Semites which conceived of gods always in pairs, remained more or less of an abstraction during the various periods of the Babylonian-Assyrian religion and taking little part in the active cult of the temples, his unique position as the chief god of the highest heavens was always recognized in the theological system developed by the ...
— Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 3, Part 1, Slice 1 - "Austria, Lower" to "Bacon" • Various

... said Steering. He had known all these seconds that he was doing this for her, but the strain that he was on had somehow pulled him beyond the comprehension of her as actual; for the last ten seconds she had been rather a big abstraction, a high principle of his soul, a good desire in his heart. To see her there before him was to see abstraction, principle, desire becoming adequately incarnate. "No, you mustn't try to reach down here,—your arms aren't long enough,—the ...
— Sally of Missouri • R. E. Young

... very pale, and she was most unusually quiet all that day, falling into fits of abstraction as if her thoughts were far away. She was more tender than ever with Lena, knowing now too well the trouble which was weighing upon the heart and spirits of the sensitive young sister, and secretly sharing it with ...
— Bessie Bradford's Prize • Joanna H. Mathews

... corridor which led to the queen's apartment, he would have had great difficulty in believing that it was a favoured lover that was passing before him; so serious a brow did he wear, and so deep an air of abstraction was there on his countenance. No sooner, however, did he enter that apartment, than, by a sudden effort, his countenance lit up; his manner grew free and unrestrained, and he assumed that mingled ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 62, Number 361, November, 1845. • Various

... bright idea. Any one familiar with the Peggy disposition would have guessed as much from a number of infallible signs. There were periods of abstraction, characterized by long silences or random replies. There were thoughtful little frowns, and sudden dimpling smiles, all for no reason apparent. And when Peggy reached the point of saying to herself in a confidential ...
— Peggy Raymond's Vacation - or Friendly Terrace Transplanted • Harriet L. (Harriet Lummis) Smith

... hour; and I have known the sun to go down on his delay. These purely personal favours, this consideration of men's fancies, rather than the hands of a mechanical clock, as marking the advance of the abstraction, time, makes a more humorous business of stage-coaching than we are ...
— Essays of Travel • Robert Louis Stevenson

... the bounds of ordinary prudence; that, on a proper occasion, no man is more charitable, generous, or munificent; none more alive to the misfortunes and even solicitudes of a virtuous sufferer; that his apparent coldness is the effect only of mental abstraction and of judicious caution and reflection; and, in part, of that strong and exhausting flame with which his friendship burns for those whom he grapples to his heart. But the world at large can never have that knowledge of him that I have; and, therefore, though ...
— Discourse of the Life and Character of the Hon. Littleton Waller Tazewell • Hugh Blair Grigsby

... with any statutory penalty. But to attempt or execute bodily harm to others through means of evil spirits, or, in a word, by the black art, was actionable at common law as much as if the party accused had done the same harm with an arrow or pistol-shot. The destruction or abstraction of goods by the like instruments, supposing the charge proved, would, in like manner, be punishable. A fortiori, the consulting soothsayers, familiar spirits, or the like, and the obtaining and circulating ...
— Letters On Demonology And Witchcraft • Sir Walter Scott

... was getting dismally dark did he arouse himself from his abstraction and take up again ...
— Banked Fires • E. W. (Ethel Winifred) Savi

... them to regard his operations. What Gower did not know he made it his business to find out. He sat now in his grass chair, a short, compact body of a man, with a heavy-jawed, powerful face frowning in abstraction. Gower looked younger than his fifty-six years. There was little gray in his light-brown hair. His blue eyes were clear and piercing. The thick roundness of his body was not altogether composed of useless tissue. Even considered superficially he looked what he really was, what he had been ...
— Poor Man's Rock • Bertrand W. Sinclair

... friendship. "Thou {50} hast made us for Thyself, and our heart is restless until it rests in Thee." That cry of St. Augustine has found its echo in unnumbered souls, and our humanity will never be satisfied while it is offered no more than an impalpable abstraction for the contentment ...
— God and the World - A Survey of Thought • Arthur W. Robinson

... his neckcloth, coat, and hat; pocketed his snuff-box and handkerchief, walked into the entry, locked the door, put the key over it, as he had always been in the habit of doing; seated himself upon his bundle, with his back leaning against the wall; and immediately lapsed into a fit of deep abstraction, which he occasionally relieved by kicking his heels against the floor, shaking his head, in a sudden and emphatic manner, or inhaling his breath rapidly and violently, producing a sound blending the harmonious qualities of a ...
— The Knickerbocker, or New-York Monthly Magazine, June 1844 - Volume 23, Number 6 • Various

... is Virginia—as Swedenborg says the smallest part of the brain is an abridgment of all of it. "Coelum non animum mutant qui trans mare currunt," was made for a Virginian. He never gets acclimated elsewhere; he never loses citizenship to the old Home. The right of expatriation is a pure abstraction to him. He may breathe in Alabama, but he lives in Virginia. His treasure is there and his heart also. If he looks at the Delta of the Mississippi, it reminds him of James River "low grounds;" if he sees the vast prairies of Texas, it is a memorial of the meadows ...
— Southern Literature From 1579-1895 • Louise Manly

... the cold silvery sunlight and then passed on into the shadow of the ship; or in tracing far away, the broad even track marked by edges of tiny bubbles, where the vessel's course had been. Gradually she became aware through her abstraction of a greater stir and buzz of conversation on the deck behind her; she turned, and seeing everybody looking in one direction, rose and looked too. A lady standing beside ...
— A Canadian Heroine - A Novel, Volume 3 (of 3) • Mrs. Harry Coghill

... 'as black as Toby,'" said Letitia with a look half of inquiry, half of anxious abstraction. What Letitia could find out herself she never asked ...
— The Pot of Gold - And Other Stories • Mary E. Wilkins

... pamphlet at ten cents?' Snyder fingered the piracies. 'Twopence in the shilling on two hundred thousand copies at half a dollar means over three thousand pounds. That's what you might well have made if Providence, doubtless in a moment of abstraction, had not created Onions Winter an incredible ass, and if you had not vainly imagined that because you were a lawyer you had nothing to ...
— A Great Man - A Frolic • Arnold Bennett

... predominance of the historical in Hegel's philosophy is its explicit critique of individualism and particularism. According to his doctrine, the individual as individual is meaningless. The particular—independent and unrelated—is an abstraction. The isolation of anything results in contradiction. It is only the whole that animates and gives meaning to the individual and the particular. This idea of subordinating the individual to universal ends, as embodied particularly in Hegel's theory of the ...
— The German Classics of The Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Vol. VII. • Various

... species of horrified abstraction, from which I was recalled by some of our men running to the side of the vessel. They were about to lower the steam-launch. It was to be sent out as a torpedo-boat, and young Firebrand, whom I now observed for ...
— In the Track of the Troops • R.M. Ballantyne



Words linked to "Abstraction" :   generalisation, abstractedness, generalization, amount, painting, otherworld, removal, remotion, engrossment, attribute, preoccupancy, preoccupation, theorization, construct, theorisation, teacher, picture, grouping, communication, relation, abstract entity, measure, right, quantity, reverie, entity, abstract



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