Colour is a characteristic, but it’s concrete.

Shape is a characteristic, but it’s abstract.

Then, “characteristic” can be both an abstract noun and a concrete noun?

  • What do you mean by concrete? What do you find concrete about colour? Commented Sep 13, 2021 at 8:10
  • @Ronald Sole Concrete means existing in a material or physical form; not abstract. And Colour is the definite concrete noun. We can see it. Commented Sep 13, 2021 at 8:12
  • We can see shapes as well! Commented Sep 13, 2021 at 9:32
  • @Kate Bunting Oh no can we see size as well? Commented Sep 13, 2021 at 9:38
  • You can see the difference between a big helping of food and a small one, can't you? Commented Sep 13, 2021 at 9:41

1 Answer 1


Yes, 'characteristic' is abstract. As a general rule, if you can say something exists but you can't touch it, it is abstract.

'Characteristic' is a term for many other things which in turn may be either abstract or concrete, but without additional detail, you cannot say if those 'characteristics' are tangible or not.

For example:

He has many defining characteristics.

Those characteristics referred to could be entirely intangible. For example, 'boldness' may be a characteristic of someone. That is an intangible concept, so 'boldness' is an abstract noun and an abstract characteristic.

However, you might say a person has 'big eyes'. Eyes are a physical thing, and not an abstract noun. So while the word 'characteristic' is abstract, specific characteristics may or may not be.

  • I don’t understand “characteristic” can be for a concrete thing, but how is “characteristic” always an abstract noun? Commented Sep 13, 2021 at 8:16
  • 2
    @GatePending A characteristic can be concrete, or not. But the word characteristic itself isnt'.
    – Astralbee
    Commented Sep 13, 2021 at 8:21

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