Examples of abstract terms include love, success, freedom, good, moral, democracy
, and any -ism (chauvinism, Communism, feminism, racism, sexism
). These terms are fairly common and familiar, and because we recognize them we may imagine that we understand themóbut we really can't, because the meanings won't stay still.
as an example. You've heard and used that word since you were three or four years old. Does it mean to you now what it meant to you when you were five? when you were ten? when you were fourteen (!)? I'm sure you'll share my certainty that the word changes meaning when we marry, when we divorce, when we have children, when we look back at lost parents or spouses or children. The word stays the same, but the meaning keeps changing. Concrete terms
refer to objects or events that are available to the senses. [This is directly opposite to abstract terms
, which name things that are not
available to the senses.] Examples of concrete terms include spoon, table, velvet eye patch, nose ring, sinus mask, green, hot, walking
. Because these terms refer to objects or events we can see or hear or feel or taste or smell, their meanings are pretty stable. If you ask me what I mean by the word spoon
, I can pick up a spoon and show it to you. [I can't pick up a freedom
and show it to you, or point to a small democracy
crawling along a window sill. I can measure sand and oxygen by weight and volume, but I can't collect a pound of responsibility
or a liter of moral outrage.
While abstract terms like love
change meaning with time and circumstances, concrete terms like spoon
stay pretty much the same. Spoon
mean pretty much the same to you now as they did when you were four.
Read more here Abstract, Concrete, General and Specific Terms