One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Separation; apartness, isolation. Chiefly with from.
2historical, rare A state of seclusion or withdrawal from worldly or sensual things; contemplation of or concentration on the spiritual. Frequently with from. Now rare and chiefly historical.
3The quality of existing or being presented in abstract form, rather than with reference to concrete details or particular instances.
4Lack of awareness of or concentration on what is happening around one; absence of mind.
Mid 17th century; earliest use found in Richard Corbet (1582–1635), bishop of Oxford and of Norwich, and poet. From abstracted + -ness.
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