abstract

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abstract (something) from (something or some place)

1. To take something without permission. Despite all of the company's security measures, hackers abstracted classified information from the server.
2. To extract key information from a longer document or text. I had to abstract all of the relevant information from that lengthy report and then present it to management.
See also: abstract

abstract away

1. To eliminate, omit, or disregard the details of something in order to generalize or simplify it at a conceptual level. A noun or pronoun can be used between "abstract" and "away." Remember that you will be delivering the results of your work to members of the public, so try to abstract away the more complicated aspects of the scientific theory. The agency abstracted the more sensitive details of the incident away, leaving a heavily redacted report that only revealed what happened in broad strokes.
2. In computer science, to hide, obscure, or mask the details of some process in order to simplify its functionality for the sake of usability. A noun or pronoun can be used between "abstract" and "away." Even simple actions on the computer create incredibly complicated processes in the software, but programmers have abstracted away the more nitty-gritty details in order to keep the average user from getting overwhelmed.
See also: abstract, away

abstract idea

An idea or thought that is intangible or outside the constraints or possibilities of the real world. Some regard love as but an abstract idea, as it is impossible to define what makes love real.
See also: abstract, idea

in the abstract

In a manner that is intangible or outside the constraints or possibilities of the real world. Love is something that exists in the abstract—it's very hard to define what makes love real.
See also: abstract
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

abstract something from someone or something

to steal something from someone or something. (Formal.) The officer was found guilty of abstracting a rather large amount of money from the company.
See also: abstract

abstract something from something

to take the important information from a longer document; to extract the essentials or the gist from a piece of complicated writing. Can you abstract a shorter article from this material?
See also: abstract
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

in the abstract

In a way that is conceptual or theoretical, as opposed to actual or empirical.
See also: abstract
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Here analogies can be drawn between the process of abstracting and the process of indexing (Lancaster, 1998).
The idea of consistency in abstracting is similar to consistency in subject indexing.
In abstracting, just as in indexing, consistency is not the same as quality (Cooper, 1969).
The primary content described by these abstracting and indexing databases is now springing up everywhere in electronic formats: locally mounted databases, publisher-provided servers, and intermediary (third party) aggregation and access services.
While key standards (such as the revised 1996 version of Z39.56, the Serial Item and Contribution Identifier or SICI) to support linkages from abstracting and indexing databases to primary content are now coming into place, actual implementation of such linkages is relatively new, and considerable work needs to be done on appropriate matching algorithms.
A cover-to-cover approach to abstracting rather than a focus on only the lead stories brings users a wider range of information from each leading source.
The database provides comprehensive abstracting and indexing of 140 popular and professional science journals published in the U.S.
The Readers' Guide provides indexing; RGA includes both indexing and abstracting. Readers' Guide Abstracts Select Edition provides limited indexing with abstracts for The New York Times.