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Mind Over Matter
Abstract nouns are words that represent human qualities, states of the mind, emotions, concepts, and ideas, that cannot be identified by the senses, but are felt as a subjective experience.
A noun is one of the eight main parts of speech in the English language. It is any word that occurs as the subject of a verb or clause, object of a verb in a sentence, or the object of a preposition. Generally, they are names of things, ideas, and concepts. They come in many types. Proper nouns are names of places, people and specific things, while common nouns are names given to general classes of things. Nouns can be classified as countable or uncountable, depending on whether they can be quantified.

What are Abstract Nouns?

Abstract nouns are words that signify intangible ideas, which cannot be experienced directly through the five senses, but can only be felt or experienced. They are words for feelings, qualities and all other kinds of abstract concepts.

Often, there tends to be a confusion between what concrete and abstract nouns are. Concrete nouns denote material things that can actually be seen, felt, touched, tasted, and heard. So if the name signifies something that cannot be felt through direct sensory experience, you have an abstract noun. On the other hand, if you can perceive it through the senses, it's a concrete noun.

Happiness is classified as an abstract noun but some people will argue that it can be visible enough on people's faces to be seen as a concrete noun. However, a counterargument could be made that many people who look happy, may not be so, as what we are talking about is a state of mind here. When you are talking about a state of mind, an idea, an emotion and a feeling, you are dealing with an abstract noun.

Language is man's greatest invention. It developed as the cerebrum of the human brain evolved over the course of evolution. It made thinking on an abstract level possible. The range of words in our languages are testimony to the depth and reach of human thought. The intangible ideas, emotions, and concepts that evolve out of higher thought are nouns of the abstract kind. They are words that convey the complex nuances of the workings of a human mind.

List of Prominent Positive and Negative Abstract Nouns

More than explanations, a list of abstract nouns will make it simpler for you to understand them. Here it is.

Abstract Nouns
InspirationDepressionLoveHate
CourageCuriosityExcitementDesperation
AdventureAmazementFaithEgo
FailureAweWisdomFreedom
EvilJusticeForgivenessLoyalty
RomanceEleganceInfatuationImagination
HonestyDeterminationHumorHumility
HopeDespairHonorPride
RedemptionHurtPeaceTrust
PatiencePainHelplessnessPleasure
PerseveranceGraciousnessGratitudeGrace
GriefMaturityFascinationSerendipity
FriendshipBrutalitySelf-ControlJealousy
LoveCompassionConfusionVulnerability
AbilitySelf-EsteemMasteryPity
RebellionEuphoriaPerfectionExcellence
SuccessCuriosityRealityEnthusiasm


These nouns are representative of all ideas that make us human. Without them, expression of our feelings and ideas would be impossible.

Usage Examples

Any grammatical concept is best understood through examples. The italicized and highlighted words in the following lines are abstract nouns.


He is in love. Is any other explanation required?

Confusion is created by the mind, the world is just as it should be.

Jealousy arises where insecurity thrives.

To have grace, is the rarest thing.

To gain complete mastery over the self, is the ultimate victory.

Friendship makes life worthwhile.

Her vulnerability was overwhelming.

Imagination is superior to intelligence.

Ultimate freedom is liberation from all wanting.

Your fascination with the world of senses, creates your bondage.

Grief is inevitable as all that is, will not be, at some point.

Good and evil are the mind's making.

Men of honor are rare these days.

Your ability speaks for itself.

Loyalty is not a commodity you can purchase.

When honesty and integrity are compromised in an endeavor, nothing sustainable and long-lasting can come out of it.

Let excellence be your motivation and you will have no reason to regret your decisions.

A writer grows out of his eternal romance with words and ideas.

Gratitude for what one has, is an excellent antidote to dissatisfaction.

Bravery also lies in not yielding to cynicism.

Stupidity dies from self-inflicted wounds.

Don't mistake tolerance for cowardice.

Compassion is the only path to lasting peace.

There may be no such thing as reality because everything is ultimately a subjective experience.

Humility cannot be construed.

Abstract nouns identify all the words that collectively make the subjective human experience. All the ideas that make up our culture belong to this noun category. Despite being labeled to be abstract, they are the most real concepts for most of us.