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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The act of abstracting, separating, or withdrawing, or the state of being withdrawn; withdrawal.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



... acquaintances, there was nothing attractive enough about the capital to keep her. She allowed herself to be driven about the town, on pretence of seeing churches and galleries, but in reality she saw very little of either. She was preoccupied with her own thoughts and subject to fits of abstraction. Most things seemed to her intensely dull, and the unhappy guide who had been selected to accompany her on her excursions, wasted his learning upon her on the first morning, and subsequently exhausted the magnificent catalogue of impossibilities which he ...
— Don Orsino • F. Marion Crawford

... wine-god, but to the ancient Initiated in the orgies and mysteries he was—as were each of the gods in their turn—the central divinity, the lord of light, and the giver of life. For, as it was concisely said in the spirit of pantheistic abstraction: 'Nothing can be imagined which is not an image of God;' so it was not possible to conceive a divinity who was not in himself all the other divinities. Thus we find that Bacchus was male, female, and at the same time an absolute ONE ...
— The Continental Monthly, Vol. 3, No. 1 January 1863 - Devoted To Literature And National Policy • Various

... rising as the author sank, the amateurs of literature collectively were erected into a municipality of judges, and addressed as the Town! And now, finally, all men being supposed able to read, and all readers able to judge, the multitudinous Public, shaped into personal unity by the magic of abstraction, sits nominal despot on the throne of criticism. But, alas! as in other despotisms, it but echoes the decisions of its invisible ministers, whose intellectual claims to the guardianship of the Muses seem, for the greater part, analogous to the physical qualifications which adapt ...
— Biographia Literaria • Samuel Taylor Coleridge

... general consideration of the child's training it becomes evident that the great subjects which are most useful for discipline in the period of secondary education are the mathematical studies on the one hand, which exercise the faculty of abstraction, and the positive sciences, which train the power of observation and require truth to detail. If we should pursue the subject into the collegiate period, we should find mental and moral science, literature, and history coming to their ...
— The Story of the Mind • James Mark Baldwin

... Calhoun's logic was inwrought into the substance of the Southern mind,—nobody who has noted the process by which the justification of one of the bloodiest rebellions in the history of the world was deduced from the definition of an abstraction,—nobody who explores the meaning of the phrase, common in many mouths, that "the South thought itself in the right,"—will doubt that the seeming bugbear may turn out a dreadful reality. It is impossible, in ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 17, No. 102, April, 1866 • Various

... a sigh, and an air of abstraction, she departed to obey the command of her father. As she passed out at the ...
— The Scalp Hunters • Mayne Reid

... not dispute this, since it seemed to comfort Mr. Benton. It is doubtful, however, whether the young man believed it himself, since he straightway fell into a fit of gloomy abstraction, and made no response when ...
— Paul Prescott's Charge • Horatio Alger

... villager she knew; or she would mount Bonnie Bess at the hour she thought Hugh would be returning from Pierrepoint, and gallop through the lanes to meet him and rein up at his side, startling him from his abstraction with that ringing laugh ...
— Wee Wifie • Rosa Nouchette Carey

... motor-horn from the direction of the driveway cut sharply through his abstraction. He leaped for the door and gained the hall in safety, then sauntered downstairs to find not one arrival but two. Miss Ocky had returned ahead of schedule, and a messenger on a motorcycle had come ...
— The Monk of Hambleton • Armstrong Livingston

... through his weakness of character, through the powerful ascendant she had managed to get over him during the seven years of their liaison. But he wanted nothing better than to break with her. She read it perfectly in his furtive glances, and in the gloomy abstraction that weighed upon him, in his sudden, unnatural cheerfulness, in his fear and servility which increased every time he came near her. One evening the count asked for a glass of water. A sudden light came into Amalia's eyes—the longed-for moment had arrived. ...
— The Grandee • Armando Palacio Valds

... cried, stabbed to the quick. "How can you? You can not love me, or you could not coldly turn me over to some other man, some abstraction—" ...
— The First Violin - A Novel • Jessie Fothergill

... are feelings that feed on themselves; but of the two, hatred has the longer vitality. Love is restricted within limits of power; it derives its energies from life and from lavishness. Hatred is like death, like avarice; it is, so to speak, an active abstraction, above beings ...
— Cousin Betty • Honore de Balzac

... a mechanical manner as he recognized some acquaintance, but there was nothing enthusiastic in his greetings. He had been standing at the entrance for about half-an-hour, when he was roused from his state of abstraction by a tremendous slap on the back, and ...
— Marie Gourdon - A Romance of the Lower St. Lawrence • Maud Ogilvy

... extract intelligible species from phantasms is a natural action of man's active intellect, it seems becoming to place even this action in Christ. And it follows from this that in the soul of Christ there was a habit of knowledge which could increase by this abstraction of species; inasmuch as the active intellect, after abstracting the first intelligible species from phantasms, could abstract ...
— Summa Theologica, Part III (Tertia Pars) - From the Complete American Edition • Thomas Aquinas

... not to be viewed "as a 'sale' of the mineral content of the soil" inasmuch as minerals "may or may not be present in the leased premises and may or may not be found [therein]. * * * If found, their abstraction * * * is a time consuming operation and the payments made by the lessee * * * do not normally become payable as the result of a single transaction." The result for tax purposes would have been the same even had the lease ...
— The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation • Edward Corwin

... propensities, but 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 ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 56, Number 349, November, 1844 • Various

... Commander of a steam packet called the City of 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 ...
— The Economist - Volume 1, No. 3 • Various

... intellectual operation in man consists in an abstraction from sensible phantasms, wherefore the more a man's intellect is freed from those phantasms, the more thoroughly will it be able to consider things intelligible, and to set in order all things sensible. Thus ...
— Summa Theologica, Part II-II (Secunda Secundae) • Thomas Aquinas

... deeply engaged in debating this point with himself, and gazing open-mouthed at the Professor, when there suddenly occurred an avalanche so peculiar and destructive that it threw the whole party into the utmost consternation. While removing a pile of plates, Gillie, in his abstraction, tripped on a stone, tumbled over the artist, crushed that gentleman's head into Nita's lap, and, descending head foremost, plates and all, into the midst of the feast, scattered very moraine of crockery and bottles all round. It was an appalling smash, and ...
— Rivers of Ice • R.M. Ballantyne

... shocked to see the changes that had been made in her by that one night. She did not regard so much the pallor of her face, the languor of her manner, and her unelastic step, but rather the new expression that appeared upon her countenance, the thoughtfulness of her brow, the deep and earnest abstraction of her gaze. In that one night she seemed to have stepped from girlhood to maturity. It was as though she had lived through the intervening experience. Years had been crowded into hours. She was no longer a school-girl—she ...
— The Living Link • James De Mille

... wonderful. He's getting more and more abstract every day. He'd given up the third dimension when I was there and was just thinking of giving up the second. Soon, he says, there'll be just the blank canvas. That's the logical conclusion. Complete abstraction. Painting's finished; he's finishing it. When he's reached pure abstraction he's going to take up architecture. He says it's more intellectual than painting. Do you agree?" she asked, with a ...
— Crome Yellow • Aldous Huxley

... Heartwell, for my inattention. I was thinking of the past—the past recalled by your own story. Excuse my abstraction, ...
— Leah Mordecai • Mrs. Belle Kendrick Abbott

... individuals; that the precepts and counsels of its God are impracticable, and more adapted to discourage the human race, and to plunge men into despair and apathy, than to render them happy, active, and virtuous. A Christian is compelled to make an abstraction of the maxims of his religion if he wishes to live in the world; he is no longer a Christian when he devotes his cares to his earthly good; and, in a word, a real Christian is a man of another world, and is not adapted ...
— Letters to Eugenia - or, a Preservative Against Religious Prejudices • Baron d'Holbach

... everything else, as coldly as a woman of snow; quite forgetting the sisters except at odd times, and apparently addressing some abstraction of Society; for whose behoof, too, she occasionally arranged her dress, or the composition of her figure upon ...
— Little Dorrit • Charles Dickens

... of some of them, but of all. The real human economy does not obey those laws which the theorists have abstractedly deduced from economic phenomena. Hence it is only possible either that the human economy is by its very nature unfitted to become the object of scientific abstraction and cognisance, or that the abstractions hitherto made have been erroneous—erroneous, that is, not in the sense of being actually out of harmony with phenomena from which they are correctly and logically deduced, but in the sense of being theoretically ...
— Freeland - A Social Anticipation • Theodor Hertzka

... human reality is capable of lyrism but not of abstraction. Nothing will serve for its understanding but the evidence of rational linking up of characters and facts. And beginning with Flora de Barral, in the light of my memories I was certain that she at least ...
— Chance - A Tale in Two Parts • Joseph Conrad

... contemplation of the ocean. Daisy read a little in her prayer-book, and the professor threw a cloth over his type-writer and strolled up and down the sands. He may have been lost in devout abstraction; he may have been looking for footprints. As for me, my mind was very serene, and I was more than happy. Daisy read to me a little for my soul's sake, and the professor came up and said something cheerful. He also examined the magazine ...
— In Search of the Unknown • Robert W. Chambers

... really we only surmise is a misuse of language, just as it is also a misuse to ask the question "Does nature make a departure from its previously ordered procedure and substitute chance for law?" since the ordinary reader is all too apt to forget that "Nature" is a mere abstraction, and that to speak of Nature doing such or such a thing helps us in no way along the road ...
— Science and Morals and Other Essays • Bertram Coghill Alan Windle

... weariness in it, thinking with a certain luxurious compassion of the scalded man, and how he was to fare that day. This poor wretch seemed of another order of beings, as the calamitous always seem to the happy, and Basil's pity was quite an abstraction; which, again, amused and shocked him, and he asked his heart of bliss to consider of sorrow a little more earnestly as the lot of all men, and not merely of an alien creature here and there. He dutifully tried to imagine another ...
— Henry James, Jr. • William Dean Howells

... flow came the ebb. Why had he chosen her? Was it merely as an abstraction—the embodiment of an ideal, a survival from a host of pleasant memories, and as a mother for his child, who needed care which no one else could give, and as a helpmate in carrying out his schemes ...
— The Colonel's Dream • Charles W. Chesnutt

... the method of serving their end. It may be in place to recall the modern psychological position. Beauty of form seems to be a question of facility of apperception. The proposition could perhaps safely be made broader than this. If abstraction is made from association, suggestion, and "expression," classed as elements of beauty, then beauty in any perceived object means that the mid readily unfolds its apperceptive activity in the directions which the object in question affords. But the directions in which ...
— The Theory of the Leisure Class • Thorstein Veblen

... person, and somehow to impress its peculiar character on his remarks; so that to have considered his amenities apart from his cravat would have been a severe, and perhaps a dangerous, effort of abstraction. ...
— Silas Marner - The Weaver of Raveloe • George Eliot

... individual. You and I have to generalise, as we say, when we try to extend our affections beyond the limits of household and family and personal friends, and the generalising is a sign of weakness and limitation. Nobody can love an abstraction, but God's love and Christ's love do not proceed in that fashion. He individualises, loving each and therefore loving all. It is because every man has a space in His heart singly and separately and conspicuously, ...
— Expositions of Holy Scripture - Ephesians; Epistles of St. Peter and St. John • Alexander Maclaren

... before an unvaluing herd? The young doctor was the only young man whose admiration she had ever thought worthy to secure, and having met from him only cold politeness, she had lately felt for him only bitterness and dislike. Living as she had done in a kind of cold abstraction, enjoying only the pleasures of intellect, in all the sufficiency of self, it was a matter of indifference to her what people thought of her. She felt so infinitely above them, looking down like the aeronaut, from a colder, more rarefied atmosphere, ...
— Helen and Arthur - or, Miss Thusa's Spinning Wheel • Caroline Lee Hentz

... startled. Her dark lips parted, her eyes glowing toward the end of the street, the girl was walking in a radiant abstraction. She appeared to be listening to him without hearing what he said. Dorn contemplated her confusedly. He frowned at the thought of having bored her, and an impulse to step abruptly from her side and leave became a part of his anger. He hesitated in his walking and her fingers, timorous and unconscious ...
— Erik Dorn • Ben Hecht

... painter was inspired—projected on the space before him that wonderful creation which we style the Madonna di San Sisto; for there she stands—the transfigured woman—at once completely human and completely divine, an abstraction of power, purity, and love, poised on the empurpled air, and requiring no other support; looking out with her melancholy, loving mouth, her slightly dilated, sibylline eyes, quite through the universe, to the end and consummation of all things; sad, as if she beheld ...
— A Christmas Faggot • Alfred Gurney

... mamma's ride a long one that morning, and much they wondered at papa's unusual silence and abstraction. He quite forgot to romp with them, but indeed there was scarcely time, as he did not come in from the fields till the breakfast bell ...
— Elsie's Motherhood • Martha Finley

... diminished to a mathematical point in this cosmopolitan's cosmos. For Frida he had ceased to have any objective existence, he was an intellectual quantity, what the Colonel would have called an abstraction. There was nothing for him to do but to ...
— The Return of the Prodigal • May Sinclair

... generous deeds and contempt of death have sometimes covered this folly with a veil. The arts have twined for it a fantastic wreath, and the Muses have decked it with the sweetest flowers: but this makes it none the less ridiculous nor dangerous. Love of this romantic sort is an abstraction much too light and subtle to sustain a tangible existence in the midst of the jostling relations of this busy world. It is a mere bubble thrown to the surface by the passions and fancies of men, and soon breaks by contact ...
— The Magnificent Montez - From Courtesan to Convert • Horace Wyndham

... 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 ...
— Southern Literature From 1579-1895 • Louise Manly

... then, and with a wave of her hand she disappeared into the night. Not until she was beyond recall did he realize that he might have kissed her; that she had wanted him to kiss her, for the first time since they had known each other. He sat in abstraction for several moments before he shook the reins in his hand ...
— Hidden Gold • Wilder Anthony

... satisfy the curious definiteness of man. Maybe it is better to hope that music may always be a transcendental language in the most extravagant sense. Possibly the power of literally distinguishing these "shades of abstraction"—these attributes paralleled by "artistic intuitions" (call them what you will)-is ever to be denied man for the same reason that the beginning and end of a circle ...
— Essays Before a Sonata • Charles Ives

... reading this inscription on the side of a glaring wall in an instant restored me to myself, and still, whenever I think of or repeat it, it has the power of wafting me into the region of pure and blissful abstraction. ...
— Flowers and Flower-Gardens • David Lester Richardson

... unexpectedly, in the antique furniture shop, gazing at the sideboard and a set of leather-seated Jacobean chairs, and bribing the dealer with a smile to hold them for a few days until she could decide whether she wished them. In a similar mood of abstraction she boarded the ferry, but it was not until the boat had started on its journey that she became aware of a trim, familiar figure in front of her, silhouetted against the ruffed blue waters of the river—Trixton Brent's. And presently, as though the concentration of ...
— The Crossing • Winston Churchill

... she sat. The throat and neck had the downy softness sometimes seen which leaves the artist in doubt whether it is an effect of contour or color. To these charms of feature and person were added others more—an indefinable air of purity which only the soul can impart, and of abstraction natural to such as think much of things impalpable. Often, with trembling lips, she raised her eyes to heaven, itself not more deeply blue; often she crossed her hands upon her breast, as in adoration and prayer; often she raised her head like one listening ...
— Composition-Rhetoric • Stratton D. Brooks

... 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, made in a moment of feeling, ...
— The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 07 • Various

... generalization or abstraction which gives to similar things a common name, is certainly no laborious exercise of intellect; nor does any mind find difficulty in applying such a name to an individual by means of the article. The general sense and the particular are alike easy to the understanding, and ...
— The Grammar of English Grammars • Goold Brown

... Daniel Granger had to face his daughter, who had heard by this time of her stepmother's departure and the abstraction of the baby. ...
— The Lovels of Arden • M. E. Braddon

... advance gyard as it were of Dave's gettin' queer—is when Dave's standin' in front of the post-office. Thar's a faraway look to Dave at the time, like he's tryin' to settle whether he's behind or ahead on some deal. While thus wropped in this fit of abstraction Dan Boggs comes hybernatin' along an' asks Dave to p'int into the Red Light for a smell of Valley Tan. Dave sort o' rouses up at this an' fastens on Dan with his eyes, half truculent an' half amazed, same as if he's shocked ...
— Wolfville Nights • Alfred Lewis

... done it with an assurance almost, if not quite, hypnotic, and he had removed his hand—a move, she recognized, which offered more opportunities for bungling than the initial venture—with the exact degree of insouciance, of abstraction, but at the same time not without a slight lighting of the eyes expressive alike of humility and gratitude. Lurking in her mind was an irritation over the position in which she had been placed, and her only solace was the thought that her revenge might be ...
— Prince or Chauffeur? - A Story of Newport • Lawrence Perry

... body, as entirely to destroy his utility as a travelling companion. Shortly after this the travellers separated, and Cargill returned to his native country alone, indulging upon the road in a melancholy abstraction of mind, which he had suffered to grow upon him since the mental shock which he had sustained, and which in time became the most characteristical feature of his demeanour. His meditations were not even disturbed by any anxiety about his future subsistence, although the cessation of his employment ...
— St. Ronan's Well • Sir Walter Scott

... 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, ...
— Too Old for Dolls - A Novel • Anthony Mario Ludovici

... this fashion. I do not know how far. I do not know what he said or what I answered, except in bits. I know that he made me answer him. I was not capable of the least self-assertion. What startled me at last out of this abstraction, was the sudden fear that we might be observed. I looked up and said something about it. Only to my confusion; for Thorold laughed at me, softly, but how he laughed - at me. I tried ...
— Daisy in the Field • Elizabeth Wetherell

... that the people before the Flood were much wickeder than those of our time?" asked Petrea, who wished to occupy the Candidate, nothing deterred by his evident abstraction, and whom nobody had asked if ...
— The Home • Fredrika Bremer

... Through his abstraction Balder felt on his hand a touch soft as the flowing of a breath, yet pregnant of indefinite apprehension. When two clouds meet, there is a hush and calm; but the first seeming-trifling lightning-flash brings on the storm whereby earth's face is altered. So Balder, full-charged as the ...
— Idolatry - A Romance • Julian Hawthorne

... few moments into a fit of gloomy abstraction, till the sound of the clock striking twelve made him start,—it was the only sound he had heard for some hours, and the sounds produced by inanimate things, while all living beings around are as dead, have at such an hour an ...
— The Lock and Key Library • Julian Hawthorne, Ed.

... we believed to be owing to his lameness; to a wholesome consciousness of his own social defects; or an inordinate passion for reading cheap scientific textbooks, which did not, however, add fluency nor conviction to his speech. Neither had he the abstraction of a student, for his accounts were kept with an accuracy which struck us, who dealt at the store, as ignobly practical, and even malignant. Possibly we might have expressed this opinion more strongly but for a certain ...
— Under the Redwoods • Bret Harte

... such deep abstraction in one who bore the outward signs of so vigorous a manhood. Tall, well-formed, muscular as his faultless clothes half revealed, half hid, his bronzed face bearing the clear eyes and steady lips of a man much out of doors, this thoughtful Englishman was indeed ...
— High Noon - A New Sequel to 'Three Weeks' by Elinor Glyn • Anonymous

... an abstraction of which the inhabitants of Bean Alley took little notice. The arbitrary division of one's life into weeks and days and hours seemed, on the whole, useless. There was but one day for the men, and that was pay day, and one for the women, and that was rent day. ...
— A Romance of Billy-Goat Hill • Alice Hegan Rice

... interlarding them. The world, instead of being a living body, a natural system with moral functions, has seemed to be a bisectible hybrid, half material and half mental, the clumsy conjunction of an automaton with a ghost. These phases, taken in their abstraction, as they first forced themselves on human attention, have been taken for independent and separable facts. Experience, remaining in both provinces quite sensuous and superficial, has accordingly been allowed to link this purely mental event with ...
— The Life of Reason • George Santayana

... was only as a member of family, gens, curia, phratry, or deme, and tribe, that the ancient city-state knew the men and women which composed it. The same was true of knowledge: every sensation, perception, and judgment fell into the category of some abstraction, and, instead of concrete things, men knew nothing but ...
— Unitarianism in America • George Willis Cooke

... Absolute Truth, Beauty, or Good, we cannot stop short at the abstraction of either. We are forced to refer each to some living and substantial Being, in which they have their foundations, some being that is the first and last ...
— Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry • Albert Pike

... had roused himself from his abstraction, and was listening to the dialogue, felt a new rush of the vague half-formed ideas about Tessa, which had passed through his mind the evening before: if Monna Ghita were really taken out of the way, it would be easier for him to see Tessa again—whenever he ...
— Romola • George Eliot

... kind, tends, as it were, to produce rest—a sort of eternal sleep in Nature. The great antagonist power is heat. By the influence of the sun the globe is exposed to great varieties of temperature; an addition of heat expands bodies, and an abstraction of heat causes them to contract; by variation of heat, certain kinds of matter are rendered fluid, or elastic, and changes from fluids into solids, or from solids or fluids into elastic substances, and vice versa, are produced; and all these phenomena are connected with alterations tending ...
— Consolations in Travel - or, the Last Days of a Philosopher • Humphrey Davy

... body, which constantly creates heat, thus continuously supplying the heat escaping from it to the sheet, and keeping up the current of caloric and electricity established towards the surface. There cannot be a doubt that the abstraction of electricity from the feverish organism contributes in a great measure to the relief of the excited nerves of the patient, as well as to the excess of temperature observed around the body in the wet-sheet pack (after the patient has been in it for some time); and that, in general, electricity ...
— Hydriatic treatment of Scarlet Fever in its Different Forms • Charles Munde

... useless provocation of the authorities; the children at the Dower House began to come to the Hall less often, not because they were less welcomed, but because there was a constraint in the air. All seemed preoccupied; conversations ceased abruptly on their entrance, and fits of abstraction would fall from time to time upon their kindly hosts. In the meanwhile, too, the preparations for James Maxwell's departure, which had already begun to show themselves, were now pushed forward rapidly; and one ...
— By What Authority? • Robert Hugh Benson

... hackneyed pursuits of the world. His character was full of beauty and of poetry—not the less so in that it found not a vent for its emotions in the actual occupation of the poet! Pent within, those emotions diffused themselves over all his thoughts and coloured his whole soul. Sometimes, in the blessed abstraction of his visions, he pictured to himself the lot he might have chosen had Irene lived, and fate united them—far from the turbulent and vulgar roar of Rome—but amidst some yet unpolluted solitude of the bright ...
— Rienzi • Edward Bulwer Lytton

... such a striking similarity to all Rosanne's "quarrel-cases," that the poor woman could not help adding them to the black list. Just as she could not help observing that, after the three events, Rosanne cheered up wonderfully and came out of the gloomy abstraction which always enveloped her when she was suffering from annoyance at the hands of others and left her when the offence had been mysteriously expiated by the offenders. Mrs. Ozanne was indeed deeply troubled. The disappearance of the Pom was bad enough; ...
— Blue Aloes - Stories of South Africa • Cynthia Stockley

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

... appreciation of what sculpture is without perceiving that this magnificent group easily and serenely takes its rank among the masterpieces of sculpture of all time. It is, in the first place, the incarnation of an abstraction, the spirit of patriotism roused to the highest pitch of warlike intensity and self-sacrifice, and in the second this abstract motive is expressed in the most elaborate and comprehensive completeness—with a combined intricacy of detail and ...
— French Art - Classic and Contemporary Painting and Sculpture • W. C. Brownell

... true; I have so much to think about; so many details to keep in mind that I suffer from abstraction when I am not under the ...
— The Transgressors - Story of a Great Sin • Francis A. Adams

... and Whitehall to buy another. I have often wondered who was the gentleman who put my hat on and carried his own in his hand. Was he a Tory? Was he a Radical? It can't have been a Labour man, for no Labour man could put a silk hat on in a moment of abstraction. The thing would scorch his brow. Fancy Will Crooks in a silk hat! One would as soon dare to play with the fancy of the Archbishop of Canterbury in a bowler—a thought which seems almost impious. It is possible, of course, that ...
— Pebbles on the Shore • Alpha of the Plough (Alfred George Gardiner)

... word,' a great spiritual community, held together by common faith in Him whom the Apostles preached. Is not that still the best definition of Christians, and does not such a conception of it correspond better to its true nature than the formal abstraction, 'the Church'? ...
— Expositions of Holy Scripture: St. John Chaps. XV to XXI • Alexander Maclaren

... hitherto had acquiesced in their action, and certainly there had not yet been any call for a popular convention, or any other device to ascertain the popular will. It was also difficult to imagine what was the exact entity of this abstraction called the "people" by men who expressed such extreme contempt for "merchants, advocates, town-orators, churls, tinkers, and base mechanic men, born not to command but to obey." Who were the people when the educated classes and the working classes were thus carefully eliminated? ...
— The Rise of the Dutch Republic, 1555-1566 • John Lothrop Motley

... balcony where a great vine climbed toward the roof. He noted that it was dotted with. blossoms, which in the deep purple of the Oriental night were coloured in strange shades of maroon. This truth penetrated his abstraction until when Nora came she found him staring at them as if their colour was a revelation which affected him vitally. She moved to his side without sound and he first knew of her presence from the damning fragrance. She spoke just ...
— Active Service • Stephen Crane

... his thoughts from his puzzle. Supper-time came, and he was still struggling to reach a conclusion. He carved the cold mutton with more than usual precision, and ate it in anxious abstraction. The room was chilly; draughts from the narrow windows made the lamp flare, and the wind from under the closed door raised the carpet in swells along the floor. He did not notice Willie, who kept his hands ...
— John Ward, Preacher • Margaret Deland

... was that it was frequently being lost. Suspecting herself, maybe, as an unpractical dreamer in a world filled with robbers, she would cart it about with her for safety, sit down behind a coil of rope and fall into a fit of abstraction; be recalled to life by the evolutions of the crew reefing or furling or what not, rise to superintend the operations—and then suddenly find ...
— The Blue Lagoon - A Romance • H. de Vere Stacpoole

... Mr. Bagehot wrote, and probably are now, somewhat wiser and better informed as to the real character of the Government—the actual responsibility for particular measures—than their critic supposed. But it is beyond doubt that the Queen's name is a great power. The law is too mere an abstraction, the names of Ministers represent too much party feeling, excite too much antagonism, to command the prompt obedience, the loyal reverence, the enthusiastic support which is rendered to the name of the Sovereign. In France and ...
— The Quarterly Review, Volume 162, No. 324, April, 1886 • Various

... Mr. Follett's business, his confidence in the soundness of his attitude toward it was perfect. He showed no sign of abstraction or anxiety; no sign of aught but a desire to live agreeably in the present,—a present that included Prudence. When the early breakfast was over they went out about the place, through the peach-orchard and the vineyard still dewy, ...
— The Lions of the Lord - A Tale of the Old West • Harry Leon Wilson

... minute or two. The giant was plunged in gloomy abstraction, and Vetch and the Moocher interchanged a significant glance. Gabbett had been ten years at the colonial penal settlement of Macquarie Harbour, and he had memories that he did not confide to his companions. When he indulged in one of these fits of recollection, his friends found ...
— For the Term of His Natural Life • Marcus Clarke

... aroused from his fit of abstraction, laughed shortly, and held out to his friend the letter he had just received. It was from Mr. Taine. Enclosed was the millionaire's check. The letter was a formal business note; the check was for an amount that drew a low whistle from the ...
— The Eyes of the World • Harold Bell Wright

... the skin is denied; and this condition is sometimes not far from a "sunstroke." Under these circumstances, a person of fairly good constitution may plunge into the water with impunity, even with benefit. But, if the body be already cooling by sweating, rapid abstraction of heat from the surface may cause internal congestion, never ...
— How to Camp Out • John M. Gould

... improved. The plump man looked startled, and then angry—timid and unimaginative were the last things he'd expected his idea to be called. Then he became uneasy. Maybe this fellow was a typical representative of his lord and master, the faceless abstraction called the Public. ...
— Crossroads of Destiny • Henry Beam Piper

... high faculties as abstraction, general conception, self-consciousness, mental individuality. There can be no doubt, if the mental faculties of an animal can be improved, that the higher complex faculties such as abstraction and self-consciousness have developed from a combination of the simpler ones; this seems to be well illustrated in the young child, as such faculties are developed by imperceptible degrees. These high faculties are very sparingly possessed by the savage; as Buchner[57] has remarked, ...
— Was Man Created? • Henry A. Mott

... his abstraction a little too far, however, for the good lady soon perceived, from his wandering looks and vague replies, that she was not holding his attention. So she pettishly released him after following the direction of his eyes, ...
— The Bread-winners - A Social Study • John Hay

... said Jim. Abstraction had settled upon him. "Say, Mis' Marshall, what if I should drop in an' 'tend to ...
— Country Neighbors • Alice Brown

... the family were present, and all, as usual, anxious to hear the news. The first letter Mr. Campbell opened, to the surprise of all, produced an immediate change in his countenance. He read it a second time, and laying it down on his knee, appeared to remain in a state of complete abstraction. ...
— The Settlers in Canada • Frederick Marryat

... ceased crying, Owen tried to engage her attention, and amused her for a time by accounts of home and country news. But by degrees she relapsed into her usual abstraction. ...
— Gladys, the Reaper • Anne Beale

... was an abstraction to him. He was kind to her so far as doing things went, but he looked over her, or round her, and ...
— Here are Ladies • James Stephens

... isn't it. That's particularly—not it. I haven't an idea who she is nor any intention of trying to find out. Even if I knew the way to begin getting acquainted with her, I'm inclined to think I'd avoid it. But as an abstraction—no, that's not what I mean—as a symbol of what I'll find waiting for me whenever I get down to the core of things ... I've got a sort of—superstition if I don't do anything to—to break the spell, you know, that sometime she'll ...
— Mary Wollaston • Henry Kitchell Webster

... far as we can see, with any desire for a moral restoration. They believed that a person would appear some day or other to deliver them. Even they were happily preserved by their sacred books from the notion that deliverance was to be found for them, or for any man, in an abstraction or notion ending in -ation or -ality. In justice to them it must be said, that they were too wise to believe that personal qualities, such as power, will, love, righteousness, could reside in any but in ...
— Alexandria and her Schools • Charles Kingsley

... monasteries, the weak and timorous may be happily sheltered, the weary may repose, and the penitent may meditate. Those retreats of prayer and contemplation have something so congenial to the mind of man, that, perhaps, there is scarcely one that does not propose to close his life in pious abstraction with a few ...
— Dr. Johnson's Works: Life, Poems, and Tales, Volume 1 - The Works Of Samuel Johnson, Ll.D., In Nine Volumes • Samuel Johnson

... voice of thwarted passion; and yet I was that man's brother in misfortune, as I knew too well; and once I had so lightly paid away seven hundred thousand francs! The footman pushed the man aside, and the horses sprang forward. As we returned, Foedora, in real or feigned abstraction, answered all my questions curtly and by monosyllables. I said no more; it was a hateful moment. When we reached her house, we seated ourselves by the hearth, and when the servant had stirred the fire and left us alone, the countess turned to me with an inexplicable expression, and ...
— The Magic Skin • Honore de Balzac

... person whom the Lady Agnes has to complain against. My sister," he continued, "has never to her knowledge seen the Lady Agnes; much less has she ever penetrated into her chamber; and indignantly does she repel the accusation relative to the abstraction of the jewels. She also desires me to inform you that last night after reading of our father's last testament, she retired to her chamber, which she did not quit until this morning at the usual hour; and that therefore ...
— Wagner, the Wehr-Wolf • George W. M. Reynolds

... impersonate, to the end that what he says may not, through ambiguity, be dissipated tenues in auras. For what says Seneca? Longum iter per praecepta, breve et efficace per exempla. A bad principle is comparatively harmless while it continues to be an abstraction, nor can the general mind comprehend it fully till it is printed in that large type which all men can read at sight, namely, the life and character, the sayings and doings, of particular persons. It is one of the cunningest fetches of Satan, that he never exposes himself directly to our arrows, ...
— The Biglow Papers • James Russell Lowell

... nervously in his chair and glanced out of the corner of his eye at the lawyer, who had resumed his cards. Reassured by the apparent abstraction of his friend, the commandant gathered himself ...
— The Turquoise Cup, and, The Desert • Arthur Cosslett Smith

... with glowing bits of color. Harry looked at them with a sort of pity. The magnified emotions of youth had suddenly made him feel very old and very responsible. When a snowball struck him under the ear he paid no attention to it, a mark of great abstraction in him. ...
— The Guns of Bull Run - A Story of the Civil War's Eve • Joseph A. Altsheler

... heart, and afterward lifts all society forward. Thus unto man slowly building up his character comes the supreme ideal, when Jesus Christ stands forth fully revealed in His splendor. He is no empty abstraction, no bloodless theory, but bone of our bone, brother of our own body and breath, yet marred by no weakness, scarred by no sin, tossing back temptations as some Gibraltar tosses back the sea's billows and the bits of drift-wood. Strong, He subdued His strength in the day of battle, and ...
— A Man's Value to Society - Studies in Self Culture and Character • Newell Dwight Hillis

... together, if that were possible; and she was well content to reign alone in the heart of her fractious, unreasonable but most affectionate, humorous, and irresistible great man. Although her rival had been but a name and an idea, a mere abstraction in which she had never really believed, she did not find it altogether displeasing to herself that the lively Martia was no more; she has almost told me ...
— The Martian • George Du Maurier

... his general philosophical abstraction from such household details, had more than once said, rather in pity to Jackeymo, than with an eye to that respectability which the costume of the servant reflects on the dignity of the master—"Giacomo, thou wantest clothes, fit ...
— Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Vol. 2, No. 8, January, 1851 • Various

... with skilled and practiced eyes, and have learned to read, with great accuracy, the state of mind and heart of the slaves, through his sable face. These uneasy sinners are quick to inquire into the matter, where the slave is concerned. Unusual sobriety, apparent abstraction, sullenness and indifference—indeed, any mood out of the common way—afford ground for suspicion and inquiry. Often relying on their superior position and wisdom, they hector and torture the slave into ...
— My Bondage and My Freedom • Frederick Douglass

... you've got me in a tight place," said Mr. Griswold, rising; and turning confusedly round, he saw the placid figure of the Doctor, who had entered the room unobserved in the midst of the conversation, and was staring with that look of calm, dreamy abstraction which often led people to suppose that he heard and saw nothing of what was ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 3, No. 18, April, 1859 - [Date last updated: August 7, 2005] • Various

... would mentally exclaim, 'Is that my Patron! THAT distinguished man!' and would be covered with confusion. Ah! never was the Frenchman so deceived. As our friend the Cappuccino advanced, with folded arms, he looked straight into the visage of the little Frenchman, with a bland, serene, composed abstraction, not to be described. There was not the faintest trace of recognition or amusement on his features; not the smallest consciousness of bread and meat, wine, snuff, or cigars. 'C'est lui-meme,' I heard the little Frenchman ...
— Pictures from Italy • Charles Dickens

... from their view of Jesus Christ, since in this connection, with the exception of Justin and Tertullian, they manifested no specific interest in the incarnation of the Logos in Jesus. The adoption of the dogma of the Logos is rather to be explained thus: (1) The idea of God, derived by abstraction from the cosmos, did indeed, like that of the idealistic philosophy, involve the element of unity and spirituality, which implied a sort of personality; but the fulness of all spiritual forces, the essence ...
— History of Dogma, Volume 2 (of 7) • Adolph Harnack

... personal traits apt to stir the passions, and create in breasts not yet schooled to repress emotion, a sentiment even of enthusiasm. It is the personal that interests mankind, that fires their imagination, and wins their hearts. A cause is a great abstraction, and fit only for students; embodied in a party, it stirs men to action; but place at the head of that party a leader who can inspire enthusiasm, lie commands the world. Divine faculty! Rare and incomparable privilege! ...
— Coningsby • Benjamin Disraeli

... which American business methods have produced, a man of resource and quick decision, but a man, so I guessed, who dealt with things, and money only as the price of things, the reward of making them. He lacked, so I felt, something of the fine spirituality of Ascher, the scientific abstraction of the man who lives in a ...
— Gossamer - 1915 • George A. Birmingham

... that tooth of conscience at their hearts, which would give them peace only at the cost of almost all that humanity holds dear. Did any of them wish they had not come? did any doubt in his or her heart whether a cold abstraction was worth adopting in lieu of the great, warm, kindly world? Verily, ...
— The History of the United States from 1492 to 1910, Volume 1 • Julian Hawthorne

... history with such composure that we shall hold our ground against them, being always equal to ourselves, and that we shall not allow our power of acting to be paralyzed through any mutations of fortune. Passive habit is not to be confounded with obtuseness in receiving impressions, a blank abstraction from the affair in hand which at bottom is found to be nothing more than a selfishness which desires to be left undisturbed: it is simply composure of mind in view of changes over which we have no control. While we vividly experience joy and sorrow, pain and pleasure—inwoven ...
— Pedagogics as a System • Karl Rosenkranz

... you do, Dolf?" asked Mrs. Mellen, kindly, rousing herself from the abstraction into which she had fallen while Elsie and her brother had been chatting together. "Are you glad ...
— A Noble Woman • Ann S. Stephens

... from the stand and a new witness, from the mayor's office, was called, with no happier results. He, too, was about to be excused when Dr Johnson, who represented Science on the committee, descended from Himalayan abstraction to demand what effect the oil had ...
— Greener Than You Think • Ward Moore

... native bear, barely eight inches long,—a little grey beast, comical beyond expression, with broad flapped ears, sits on a tree within reach. He makes no resistance, but cuddles into the child's bosom, and eats a leaf as they go along; while his mother sits aloft, and grunts indignant at the abstraction of her offspring, but, on the whole, takes it pretty comfortably, and goes on with her ...
— The Recollections of Geoffrey Hamlyn • Henry Kingsley

... muttered the Fisher, sinking into abstraction, and glaring wildly on the flickering ...
— The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, Vol. 10, - Issue 286, December 8, 1827 • Various

... the company's legs, emerges with them at the Bottle Entrance, and so passes his life: seldom, in the season, going to bed before two in the morning. . . . But, the family I am best acquainted with, reside in the densest part of Bethnal-green. Their abstraction from the objects among which they live, or rather their conviction that those objects have all come into existence in express subservience to fowls, has so enchanted me, that I have made them the subject of many journeys at divers hours. After careful observation of the two lords and ...
— The Life of Charles Dickens, Vol. I-III, Complete • John Forster

... Eitel has a long article (pp. 114, 115) on the meaning of Samadhi, which is one of the seven sections of wisdom (bodhyanga). Hardy defines it as meaning "perfect tranquillity;" Turnour, as "meditative abstraction;" Burnouf, as "self-control;" and Edkins, as "ecstatic reverie." "Samadhi," says Eitel, "signifies the highest pitch of abstract, ecstatic meditation; a state of absolute indifference to all influences from within or without; a state of torpor of both the material and spiritual ...
— Record of Buddhistic Kingdoms • Fa-Hien

... dry, and put on dry clothes, and for two or three hours that day, keep out of the sun; but if at night, go to bed. But when it so happens that you are out from home and cannot change clothing, continue to exercise until the clothes dry on your person. It is the abstraction of heat from the system by evaporation of water from the clothing, which does the mischief in such cases. I have frequently been wet to saturation in Africa, and nothing ever occurred from it, by pursuing the course here laid down. Always sleep in ...
— Official Report of the Niger Valley Exploring Party • Martin Robinson Delany

... Trudschen in the lower hall or passages. He made his way upstairs in the dark and pushed open the door of his apartment. To his astonishment, Karl was sitting comfortably in his own chair, his cap off before a student-lamp on the table, deeply engaged in apparent study. So profound was his abstraction that it was a moment before he looked up, and the consul had a good look at his usually beaming and responsive face, which, however, now struck him as wearing a singular air of thought and concentration. When their eyes at last met, he rose instantly and saluted, and his beaming smile returned. ...
— Stories in Light and Shadow • Bret Harte

... seen that the lowness of profits is a proof that the spirit of accumulation is so active, and that the increase of capital has proceeded at so rapid a rate, as to outstrip the two counter-agencies, improvements in production and increased supply of cheap necessaries from abroad. A sudden abstraction of capital, unless of inordinate amount, [would not] have any real effect in impoverishing the country. After a few months or years, there would exist in the country just as much capital as if none had been taken away. The abstraction, ...
— Principles Of Political Economy • John Stuart Mill

... et le role attribute a la fravashi dans le developpement de l'embryon, des animaux, des plantes rappellent en quelque sorte, comme le remarque M. Foucher, l'idee directrice de Claude Bernard. Seulement la fravashi n'a jamais ete une abstraction. La fravashi est une puissance vivante, un homunculus in homine, un etre personnifie comme du reste toutes les sources de vie et de mouvement que l'homme non civilise ...
— The Evolution of the Dragon • G. Elliot Smith

... gallant escapades with Spanish donnas, in which you figure as a youth of unstable morals. This delights Father Tom infinitely. I feel that I have done you a service by thus casting on the cold sacerdotal abstraction which formerly represented you in Kate's imagination ...
— The Miraculous Revenge - Little Blue Book #215 • Bernard Shaw

... if it would burst as she ascended the General's staircase, and anxiety checked her breathing as she rang the bell. "What if Madame de Fondege and Madame Leon had returned, and the abstraction of the letter been discovered!" Fortunately, Madame de Fondege required more than an hour to purchase the materials for the elaborate toilette she had dreamt of. The ladies were still out, and Mademoiselle Marguerite found everything in the same condition as she had left it. She carefully placed ...
— Baron Trigault's Vengeance - Volume 2 (of 2) • Emile Gaboriau



Words linked to "Abstraction" :   group, construct, thing, abstract, psychological feature, entity, quantity, set, painting, amount, concept, remotion, communication, measure, abstract entity, semi-abstraction, absolute, relation, abstractedness, removal, preoccupancy



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