a way of looking for the basic meaning of a math idea, by taking it away from any specific examples, in order to make a general model that can be used to solve many other math problems. For example, instead of trying to find out how many kids in a group are girls, you could just look at the math problem. For the group, you could substitute the letter X, for girls, Y, and for boys, Z. So the basic problem to solve for might be: X - Z = Y. Some types of abstract math include algebra and geometry.