What Is Abstract Meaning?


Abstract meaning is different from the literal meaning, but there are some common themes in the concept of abstract meaning. For example, an object can have more than one meaning. It can also represent a social action, a gesture, or a feeling. To get an idea of abstract meaning, check out the following article.


Gestures have multiple meanings and can be used in many contexts. However, their abstract meanings are not always clear. To address this, researchers have studied gestures across cultures, particularly in the context of Anthropological Linguistics projects. They found that gestures could depict several meaningful physical aspects to the participants.

The gesture is derived from the Latin root gerere, which means ‘to bear,’ ‘to carry,’ or ‘to take charge. It was first used in English to refer to body movements and actions and was later shortened to ‘gesture.’


An abstract object has no spatial location. Instead, it exists in a region where other items exist, such as other parts. In this way, it has no identity and cannot be determined by its spatial location. Moreover, an abstract object is non-physical, which is why it has no inherent utility.

Programmers are often motivated to name abstract objects in ways that make sense and incorporate all relevant attributes. For instance, an abstract object might be a person. A real-life example is meeting someone on a blind date. If you’d like to make the process work well, you’d include data about the person’s height, hair color, and jacket color.

Social actions

Social actions are the actions of individuals in a social context. These actions are either overt or inwardly focused. They are characterized by a subjective meaning guided by the individual’s past, present, or expected future behavior. The action may be directed toward a concrete person or many indefinite individuals.

The causal explanation of social action is a central concern of classic and modern sociology. The positivist view of causality tends to view causality as a question of correlations. In contrast, Weber’s critique of this approach shows that causality is a question of properties binding effect to cause.


Some contemporary feeling theorists argue that feelings are feelings that don’t have any concrete, object-like content. While many feelings have purely somatic experiences, others have more complex and intentional structures. These structures are the basis for the mental states we call emotions. For example, fear of the ice is a composite mental state based on a thought with ice as an intentional object.

A concrete noun and an abstract one are often difficult to distinguish. For example, the word “laughter” is sometimes considered an abstract noun, even though it has a concrete meaning.


Metaphors have multiple meanings and may have more than one. Throughout history, people have used metaphors to convey abstract meanings. A common example is a concept of “sanctuary.” It first appeared in writing as a holy place in 1340 but has since become a word for a safe place. This phenomenon is related to repeated metaphorical use, which results in abstractions and other word senses.

Metaphors are a quick and easy way to convey an idea. They use a word that means something else and fits perfectly with a sentence. For instance, a metaphor for “temperature” can mean “bumps into each other.” A metaphor for “quicksand” means that the molecules in the air vibrate and interact, creating heat.

Concrete words

Concrete words refer to things that the senses can perceive. By contrast, abstract words refer to ideas, qualities, and concepts that are not immediately tangible. Aim to make professional writing as concrete as possible to make readers understand what you’re trying to say. By connecting your words to sensory experiences, you’re moving readers closer to a common understanding.

Concrete words can be categorized as body parts, buildings, nature, objects, and human characters. These terms may also have more or less abstract meanings depending on the context. Various factors affect how our brain processes concrete and abstract words, including the number of letters in each word. While some people might prefer to use abstract words more than concrete, this doesn’t mean that concrete words can’t have an abstract meaning.