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Understanding an Abstract Noun (Definition, Examples, Word List)

What is an abstract noun? How is it different from a common noun? What are words that represent an abstract noun? These are all great questions that you probably have. Abstract nouns can get confusing when comparing them to regular common nouns or proper nouns. This comprehensive guide will break down the abstract noun, its use, and the functions that grammatically govern it.

Abstract noun
Abstract noun

What is an abstract noun? 

An abstract noun is a type of noun that represents intangible things. Things you can’t perceive with the five primary senses in the human body (taste, touch, smell, etc.).

Abstract noun definition 

As the name suggests, an abstract noun is a noun type. It refers to an intangible idea (one that you cannot fathom using your five senses). Such intangible concepts could include emotions, qualities, ideas, etc.

All nouns that do not have a tangible or physical object to refer to fall under the bracket of abstract nouns. Abstract nouns are widely used in English proverbs. 

Some common examples include health, wealth, parenthood, anger, courage, and more. 

Abstract noun compared to other nouns 

Nouns are an essential part of speech. They are instrumental in naming places, people, objects, animals, and intangible ideas.

You may have noticed that whenever you write a sentence, you are using at least one noun in it.

Nouns can get used differently in different sentence formations. Their functions can vary. Here are the main types of nouns you could use in a complete sentence:

Proper Nouns

Proper nouns are naming agents for places, people, or things. They usually start with a capital letter. 

For example:

  • My name is Lisa. (Lisa is the proper noun)
  • John lives in Finland. (Finland is the proper noun)
  • Jazz is a famous book. (Jazz is the proper noun)

Common Nouns 

Nouns that refer to generic things are referred to as common nouns

For example:

  • I bought a new book yesterday. (Book is the common noun)
  • There is a pigeon on the windowsill. (Pigeon is the common noun)
  • Rob bought a blue car. (Car is the common noun)

Countable Nouns 

Nouns that can be measured or counted are called countable nouns

For example:

  • I take two spoons of sugar in my tea. (“Two” is the countable noun)
  • She bought a dozen bananas at the market. (“A dozen” is the countable noun) 

Uncountable Nouns 

Nouns that cannot be measured or counted are called uncountable nouns. 

For example:

  • I have plenty of homework. (Plenty is the uncountable noun)
  • Is that enough milk in your coffee? (Enough is the uncountable noun)

Collective Nouns 

Collective nouns depict a group of objects, people, animals, and more. 

For example:

  • A flock of sheep 
  • A pile of books 
  • A school of fish 
  • A bevy of women 

Concrete Nouns 

Also referred to as material nouns, concrete nouns refer to things that have a physical presence and can be perceived using the five senses. 

Abstract Nouns 

Any noun that is intangible or which cannot be perceived using the five senses is an abstract noun

For example:

  • Bravery is a virtue. (Bravery is the abstract noun)
  • My childhood was merry and fun. (Childhood is the abstract noun)
Abstract vs. concrete noun
Abstract vs. concrete noun

Abstract nouns in comparison to concrete nouns 

Concrete noun, as the name suggests, includes all those objects which have a physical presence and are tangible. They can be perceived with the help of our five senses. These include nouns such as book, pen, cup, table silk, door, car, and so on. 

For example:

Abstract nouns include everything that is intangible and cannot be perceived by the five senses. These include emotions, feelings, ideas, and more. 

For example:

  • Honesty is the best policy. (Honesty is the abstract noun)
  • Freedom is my birthright. (Freedom is the abstract noun) 
Abstract noun word list
Abstract noun word list

Abstract noun word list 

Here are some examples of abstract nouns based on their kind. 

  • Feelings – sympathy, fear, anxiety, stress, pleasure
  • State – Chaos, peace, misery, freedom
  • Emotions – anger, joy, sorrow, hate 
  • Qualities – determination, courage, honesty, generosity, patience 
  • Concepts – democracy, charity, deceit, opportunity, comfort 
  • Moments – career, death, marriage, childhood, birth 
Abstract noun word list
Abstract noun word list

More examples of commonly used abstract nouns

  • Beauty
  • Bravery 
  • Brilliance 
  • Childhood 
  • Comfort 
  • Compassion 
  • Communication 
  • Curiosity 
  • Culture 
  • Dedication 
  • Energy 
  • Faith 
  • Failure
  • Friendship 
  • Gossip 
  • Happiness
  • Hope
  • Information 
  • Imagination 
  • Intelligence 
  • Integrity 
  • Justice 
  • Knowledge 
  • Kindness 
  • Life 
  • Love 
  • Liberty 
  • Loyalty 
  • Luxury 
  • Motivation 
  • Pain 
  • Perseverance 
  • Pride
  • Relaxation 
  • Sacrifice
  • Skill 
  • Satisfaction 
  • Strength 
  • Success 
  • Thought 
  • Talent 
  • Truth 
  • Trust 
  • Wisdom 
  • Warmth 

Sentence examples with abstract nouns 

The following are three sentence examples with abstract nouns – 

  1. This cafe has a pleasant ambiance. (Ambiance is the abstract noun)
  2. Pride is a deadly sin. (Pride is the abstract noun)
  3. My friendship with Peter is of seven years. (Friendship is the abstract noun) 

Conversion of Verbs and Adjectives into Abstract Nouns 

Convert verbs and adjectives into abstract nouns by adding a suffix. The reverse is also a possibility. 

For example:

  • Perceive – Perception 
  • Inform – Information 
  • Determine – Determination 
  • Dark – Darkness 
  • Silent – Silence

Why are abstract nouns important? 

Abstract nouns are tricky. Use concrete nouns to make them understandable in sentences. Abstract nouns are not of much use from a business point of view.

However, they are an integral part of any English grammar course. Conversions between abstract nouns and verbs or adjectives are essential while learning complete sentence construction.


Is “warmth” an abstract noun?

Yes, warmth is an abstract noun. 

What is the adjective form of “ability” as an abstract noun? 

The abstract form of ability (abstract noun) is able.

What are five examples of abstract nouns? 

Five examples of abstract nouns include honesty, glory, patience, determination, and truth.


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About the author

Dalia Y.: Dalia is an English Major and linguistics expert with an additional degree in Psychology. Dalia has featured articles on Forbes, Inc, Fast Company, Grammarly, and many more. She covers English, ESL, and all things grammar on GrammarBrain.

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