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AB-STE'MI-OUS, a. [L. abstemius; from abs and temetum, an ancient name of strong wine, according to Fabius and Genius. But Vossius supposes it to be from abstineo, by a change of n to m. It may be from the root of timeo, to fear, that is, to withdraw.]

  1. Sparing in diet; refraining from a free use of food and strong drinks. Instances of longevity are chiefly among the abstemious. – Arbuthnot.
  2. Sparing in the enjoyment of animal pleasures of any kind. [This usage is less common and perhaps not legitimate.]
  3. Sparingly used, or used with temperance; belonging to abstinence; an abstentious diet, an abstemious life.


Temperately; with a sparing use of meat or drink.


The quality of being temperate or sparing in the use of food and strong drinks. This word expresses a greater degree of abstinence than temperance.


The act of restraining.

AB-STERGE', v.t. [absterj'; L. abstergeo, of abs and tergeo, to wipe. Tergeo may have a common origin with the Sw. torcka, G. trocknen, D. droogen, Sax. drygan, to dry; for these Teutonic verbs signify to wipe, as well as to dry.]

To wipe or make clean by wiping; to cleanse by resolving obstructions in the body. [Used chiefly as a medical term.]


Wiping; cleansing.


A medicine which frees the body from obstructions, as soap: but the use of the word is nearly superseded by detergent, which see.

AB-STER'SION, n. [from L. abstergeo, abstersus.]

The act of wiping clean; or a cleansing by medicines which resolve obstructions. [See Deterge, Detention.] – Bacon.


Cleansing; having the quality of removing obstructions. [See Detersive.]

AB'STI-NENCE, n. [L. abstinentia. See Abstain.]

  1. In general, the act or practice of voluntarily refraining from, or forbearing any action. Abstinence from every thing which can be deemed labor. – Palsy's Philos. More appropriately,
  2. The refraining from an indulgence of appetite, or from customary gratifications of animal propensities. It denotes a total forbearance, as in fasting, or a forbearance of the usual quantity. In the latter sense, it may coincide with temperance, but in general, it denotes a more sparing use of enjoyments than temperance. Besides, abstinence previous free indulgence; temperance, does not.


Refraining from indulgence, especially in the use of food and drink.


With abstinence.


Sect which appeared in France and Spain in the third century, who opposed marriage, condemned the use of flesh meat, and placed the Holy Spirit in the class of created beings.


Forced away.

AB'STRACT, a. [L. abstractus.]

  1. Separate; distinct from something else. An abstract idea, in metaphysics, is an idea separated from a complex object, or from other ideas which naturally accompany it; as the solidity of marble contemplated apart from its color or figure. – Encyc. Abstract terms are those which express abstract ideas, as beauty, whiteness, roundness, without regarding any subject in which they exist; or abstract terms are the names of orders, genera, or species of things, in which there is a combination of similar qualities. – Stewart. Abstract numbers are numbers used without application to things, as 6, 8, 10: but when applied to any thing, as 6 feet, 10 men, they become concrete. Abstract or pure mathematics, is that which treats of magnitude or quantity, without restriction to any species of particular magnitude, as arithmetic and geometry; opposed to which is mixed mathematics, which treats of simple properties, and the relations of quantity, as applied to sensible objects, as hydrostatics, navigation, optics, &c. – Encyc.
  2. Separate, existing in the mind only; as an abstract subject; an abstract question; and hence, difficult, abstruse.


  1. A summary, or epitome, containing the substance, a general view, or the principal heads of a treatise or writing. – Watts.
  2. Formerly, an extract, or a smaller quantity, containing the essence of a larger. In the abstract, in a state of separation, as a subject considered in the abstract, i. e. without reference to particular persons or things.

AB-STRACT', v.t. [L. abstraho, to draw from or separate; from abs and traho, which is the Eng. draw. See Draw.]

  1. To draw from, or to separate; as, to abstract an action from its evil effects; to abstract spirit from any substance by distillation; but in this sense extract is now more generally used.
  2. To separate ideas by the operation of the mind; to consider one part of a complex object, or to have a partial idea of it in the mind. – Horne.
  3. To select or separate the substance of a book or writing; to epitomize or reduce to a summary. – Watts.
  4. In chimistry, to separate, as the more volatile parts of a substance by repented distillation, or at least by distillation.


Separated; refined; exalted; abstruse; absent in mind. – Donne.


In a separate state, or in contemplation only. – Dryden.


The state of being abstracted. – Baxter.


One who makes an abstract, or summary.


Separating; making a summary.


  1. The act of separating, or state of being separated.
  2. The operation of the mind when occupied by abstract ideas; as when we contemplate some particular part, or property of a complex object, as separate from the rest; as, when the mind considers the branch of a tree by itself, or the color of the leaves, as separate from their size or figure, the act is called abstraction. So also, when it considers whiteness, saltiness, virtue, exigence, as separate from any particular objects. – Encyc. The power which the understanding has of separating the combinations which are presented to it, is distinguished by logicians, by the name of abstraction. – Stewart. Abstraction is the ground-work of classification, by which things are arranged in orders, genera, and species. We separate in idea the qualities of certain objects which are of the same kind, from others which are different in each, and arrange the objects having the same properties in a class, or collected body.
  3. A separation from worldly objects; a recluse life as a hermit's obstruction.
  4. Absence of mind; inattention to present objects.
  5. In the process of distillation, the term is used to denote the separation of the volatile parts, which rise, come over, and are condensed in a receiver, from those which are fixed. It is chiefly used, when a fluid is repeatedly poured upon any substance in a retort, and distilled off, to change its state, or the nature of its composition. – Nicholson.


Having the power or quality of abstracting.


Abstracted, or drawn from other substances, particularly from vegetables, without fermentation. – Cyc.