The journal article, the publication of scientific results of a study, is a beautifully constructed document with several well-known key components, the so-called IMRaD style of introduction, methods/materials, results, and discussion. While most scientists are cognizant of these components and generally are able to write them reasonably well, the abstract of the article is often a mystery. What is the purpose of the abstract? What should it contain? How does the abstract relate to the full manuscript? How can a 250-word limit do justice to all the data collected? Can the skills needed for writing the abstract of a manuscript be learned? I hope to show that manuscript abstracts indeed are not abstract (ie, free form), but rather that they abstract (ie, pull out) necessary information and compel the reader into the full article.