Definition of in the abstract in US English:

in the abstract

phrase

  • In a general way; without reference to specific instances.

    ‘there's a fine line between promoting US business interests in the abstract and promoting specific companies’
    • ‘Such ideals cannot be lived in the abstract, they must be performed.’
    • ‘Charter issues must be decided in the factual context before the court and not in the abstract or on hypothetical facts.’
    • ‘Your paper is in favour of home rule in the abstract but never, it seems in the actual practice.’
    • ‘And if it isn't going to hurt any specific marriage, it isn't going to hurt marriage in the abstract.’
    • ‘I have a strong suspicion that generals are always better in the abstract than in reality.’
    • ‘Mentoring is not effective or ineffective in the abstract, but has specific outcomes in specific circumstances.’
    • ‘To solve a problem, you're therefore never very interested in Hindu law in the abstract.’
    • ‘And that's certainly a good idea, at least in the abstract and as a general matter.’
    • ‘Still, people seem to be more fond of free speech in the abstract than in specific instances.’
    • ‘We do not say that there is anything about calling up special reasons, generally, in the abstract, as being a vice in legislation.’
    • ‘Corruption is generally held to be a vice, and viewed in the abstract, it is.’
    in principle, on paper, in the abstract, all things being equal, in an ideal world
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