a-, ab-, abs-

(Latin: prefix; from, away, away from)

This prefix is normally used with elements of Latin and French origins (abs- usually joins elements beginning with c, q, or t).

The form ab- is regularly used before all vowels and h; and it becomes a- before the consonants m, p, and v. The prefix apo- has similar meanings.

This list is a very small sample of the multitudes of a-, ab-, abs- prefixes that are available in dictionaries and those in this unit are only meant to present a few examples.

You can greatly expand your word knowledge in this
and in all of the other word units.

abstention (s) (noun), abstentions (pl)
1. A voluntary decision to do without something: Susan's abstention from chocolate was a choice she made because it was causing skin problems.
2. A refusal to ballot either for or against a proposal: The committee vote resulted in five ayes, ten nays, and four abstentions.
3. A deliberate rejection: The abstention by the mayor during the vote resulted in the proposal being defeated.
absterge (verb), absterges; absterged; absterging
1. To wipe or to make clean: Tom and Jerry were absterging the car before the family started on their trip.
2. To cleanse; hence, to purge: Rebecca, the nurse, absterged Manfred's wound with disinfectants and a special lotion.
abstinence (s) (noun), abstinences (pl)
1.The action or process of voluntarily refraining from some behavior or practice; self-control: While trying to lose weight, Steve's sister applied abstinence from excessive red meat and junk food, instead she ate a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains all of which made her feel better and even look better.
2. The self-denial of something that is wanted or enjoyable: Jeremy started to drink again after a long period of total abstinence from alcohol consumption.

Abstinence may refer to a rejection of certain foods and drinks thought to be harmful to a person's health, however it can also refer to refraining from a behavior that is considered immoral.

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abstinent (s) (noun), abstinents (pl)
A person who is self-disciplined and does not indulge in one's appetite for food or drink: As an abstinent, Greg, the coach, was described as a role model for the players on the football team.
abstinent (adjective); more abstinent, most abstinent
A reference to a person's character of sparing in the consumption of food or drink: The abstinent qualities of Audrey's aunt were much admired by her friends and relatives.
abstinently (adverb); more abstinently, most abstinently
A reference to how someone restrains his or her appetites or desires: Russell abstinently practiced self-denial so he could provide for his family's needs.
abstistic (adjective); more abstistic, most abstistic
1. A reference to all conversations, writings, and arguments that are based on theoretical principles, positions, political persuasions; pertaining to data that is devoid of the heart, the voice, poetry, or ideology rather than experience: The essay was an abstistic model of nothing but compassionless ideas and statistics.
2. Etymology: from abstract, meaning "disembodied, divorced from being perceived by the senses or the mind or being handled or touched or felt" + statistic, "facts that describe a situation".
abstract (s) (noun), abstracts (pl)
1. A theorisation that is not concrete and does not relate to real objects, but expressing something that can only be appreciated intellectually: The scientific abstract that was published was very academic and challenging.
2. A concept which is not easy to understand and is based on general principles or theories rather than on specific instances: The abstract about light absorption was understood by very few people and so it was read exclusively by a select group.
3. A brief statement of the essential thoughts of a book, article, speech, court record, etc.: The clerk will prepare an abstract for the judge to read.
4. A summary of a longer text, especially of an academic article: The students were instructed to write short abstracts outlining the main points in the article that was presented to them.
5. A concept or term that does not refer to a concrete object but denotes a quality, emotion, or idea, such as truth, passion, loathing, etc.: The aria from the opera emoted on the abstracts of love, hate, and revenge.
6. A presence existing only in the mind and separated from embodiment: Clarence referred to abstracts like "truth" and "justice".
7. A work of art, especially a painting, in a style that expresses the artist’s ideas or feelings instead of showing the exact appearance of people or things and does not represent or imitate external reality or the objects of nature: The artist's style of painting could only be described as abstract; because it was so difficult to understand.
8. Etymology: the word abstract was formed from two Latin word parts, ab-, "off, away from" + tract, "to draw, to pull".

Abstract originally meant "drawn" or "taken from", such as part of a text taken or "abstracted" from a larger piece of writing. Then abstract came to mean "difficult to understand" or "pulled away from easy understanding".

Later in the late 1800s, the word's meaning changed to refer to a new artistic style, that is abstract art when it suggested that the artists' pulled away from reality and were more concerned with presenting forms and ideas than in representing actual people and things.

abstract (verb), abstracts; abstracted; abstracting
1. To take away; to remove without permission; to filch, to steal: While the thieves were in Dawson's house, they found and abstracted money, jewelry, and a computer from his residence.
2. To write a short summary of a speech, report, or other piece of writing: Einstein's theory of relativity is said to be abstracted from data gathered in several scientific experiments.
abstractedly (adverb); more abstractedly, most abstractedly
Pertaining to how something is said or done in an absentminded or preoccupied manner: Lorraine abstractedly answered the question as if her words were the beginning of a train of thought that were too fast to be expressed in normal speech.
abstractedness (s) (noun) (no plural)
A preoccupation with something to the exclusion of other things: Alan's abstractedness indicated a condition of deep absorption or thoughtfulness about other matters.
abstraction (s) (noun), abstractions (pl)
1. An idea or a way of thinking that is not related to real situations or practical experiences: The professor told his class that in some cases, "beauty" and "truth" were simply abstractions.
2. An emotional or mental condition that takes a person's attention away from what is happening around him or her: Mildred was looking out of the classroom window in abstraction whileD she was thinking about her sick mother during the teacher's presentation.
3. The act of obtaining or removing something from a source: Dr. Black told Sam, his patient, that the abstraction of the tumor during surgery went well and that it was not malignant!
abstractionism (s) (noun), abstractionisms (pl)
Creative or cultured content that depends more on internal form rather than pictorial likeness or illustration: The student artist was told that abstractionism was simply a representation that had no particular reference to concrete objects or specific examples.
abstractionist (s) (noun), abstractionists (pl)
1. An artist who paints or creates art that expresses ideas and emotions by using elements of colors and lines without attempting to create a realistic picture: Lawrence's sister was a well-known abstractionist who was very creative with her unique forms and the blending of colors in her artistic endeavors.
2. Those who do not represent or imitate external reality or the objects of nature: The abstractionists were criticized for not presenting realistic ideas for improving the parks, streets, and other aspects of the city that had been deteriorating for years.
abstractive (adjective); more abstractive, most abstractive
A descriptive term for anything that is concerned primarily with theories or hypotheses rather than practical considerations: There are too many abstractive definitions presented by dictionaries that are repetitious with words that include a slightly different format of the main entry and which result in definitions that are abstruse, that lack clarity, or are simply too difficult for readers to comprehend.