Grammar Monster
Grammar Monster

What Is an Abstract Noun? (with Examples)

What Is an Abstract Noun? (with Examples)

An abstract noun is a noun that denotes an intangible concept such as an emotion, a feeling, a quality, or an idea. In other words, an abstract noun does not denote a physical object.

It is sometimes helpful to think of an abstract noun as a word that names something that you cannot see, hear, touch, smell, or taste (i.e., something you cannot perceive with one of your five senses). For example:
  • Consideration
  • Parenthood
  • Belief
  • Anger

A Video Summary

Here is a short video summarizing the difference between abstract nouns and concrete nouns:

More Examples of Abstract Nouns

Here are some more examples of abstract nouns categorized under conceptual headings:

HeadingExamples
Feelingsanxiety, fear, pleasure, stress, sympathy
Statesbeing, freedom, misery, chaos, luxury
Emotionsanger, hate, joy, grief, sorrow
Qualitiescourage, patience, determination, generosity, honesty
Conceptscharity, deceit, opportunity, comfort, democracy
Momentsbirthday, childhood, marriage, career, death

Abstract Nouns Contrast with Concrete Nouns

Abstract nouns contrast with concrete noun, which denote tangible things, i.e., things that can be perceived with one of the five senses. Here is a table with some abstract and concrete nouns:

Abstract NounConcrete Noun
LuxurySilk
SuccessMoney
EnergyGas
FriendshipFriend
LuckHorseshoe
LoveKiss

It is not always easy to differentiate between an abstract noun and a concrete noun, and it is not unusual for students to argue over whether a noun is abstract or concrete. For example, laughter is often cited as an abstract noun, but laughter can be heard, which would make it a concrete noun.

We would agree that laugher is a concrete noun, but what about love, work, and result? It is fairly easy to make cases for these being concrete nouns, but they are classified as abstract nouns. Be aware that the distinction between abstract noun and concrete noun is sometimes blurry.

Yet More Examples of Abstract Nouns

Here are some more examples of abstract nouns:

Anger, Anxiety, Beauty, Beliefs, Bravery, Brilliance, Chaos, Charity, Childhood, Comfort, Communication, Compassion, Courage, Culture, Curiosity, Deceit, Dedication, Democracy, Determination, Energy, Failure, Faith, Fear, Freedom, Friendship, Generosity, Gossip, Happiness, Hate, Honesty, Hope, Imagination, Information, Integrity, Intelligence, Joy, Justice, Justice, Kindness, Knowledge, Liberty, Life, Love, Loyalty, Luxury, Misery, Motivation, Opportunity, Pain, Patience, Peace, Perseverance, Pleasure, Pride, Relaxation, Sacrifice, Satisfaction, Skill, Strength, Success, Sympathy, Talent, Thought, Trust, Truth, Warmth, and Wisdom

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