Definition of concrete in English:



  • 1Existing in a material or physical form; not abstract.

    ‘concrete objects like stones’
    • ‘In discussing some general problem in nature he always knows how to pick out a typical concrete physical problem and to give it a clear mathematical formulation.’
    • ‘Sophocles' dramatic imagination is before all else physical and concrete.’
    • ‘His poems utilise the abstract power of language in a way that is paralleled by Salcedo's use of pared down, concrete physical form.’
    • ‘As an element in cultural categorizations, the role of the human body goes far beyond its concrete physical boundaries.’
    • ‘When I say this, what I express is not my wish for a pure poetry, but a concrete, physical attitude.’
    • ‘Perception of the other person's body as a physical object is an abstraction from this concrete experience of the other person.’
    • ‘In architecture, of course, tradition and history come in the very concrete and visible form of existing structures which the designer has to incorporate into any new work.’
    • ‘What these churches have to offer, in addition to intangibles like eternal salvation, is concrete, material assistance.’
    • ‘So the novel does not rest with the mere depiction of the locations of violence but meticulously examines its concrete, physical ramifications.’
    • ‘But is also one of the sites where the formation of new claims by informal political actors materializes and assumes concrete form.’
    • ‘It is grotesquely, disastrously wrong about the Labour Party, and it imposes an abstract answer on a concrete situation.’
    • ‘Poetry allows us to examine science in a way that purely scientific discourse cannot by analogizing abstract concepts into concrete forms.’
    • ‘He argues that space-time points and regions are concrete, physical objects, and so they are not mathematical.’
    • ‘Brand awareness should be a stepping stone to more concrete action, like opposing sweatshop labour, but it's not an end in itself.’
    • ‘Students of Sivakasi Nadar Matriculation Higher Secondary School gave form to their dreams by building castles not in the air but from concrete materials.’
    • ‘Finlay made his reputation in the 1960s as a concrete poet, an art form in which the physical arrangement of words on the page creates meaning in the poem itself.’
    • ‘The material home represents the concrete expression of saving ‘for a home of our own’.’
    • ‘First, the concrete tangibility of a visible Pagan structure is what will enable non-Pagans to relate to us positively.’
    • ‘As Steve notes, giving all Iraqis a very concrete, material stake in the new regime would go a long way to securing a political constituency for the new order.’
    • ‘A rock is just as physical and more concrete than a human body, but I would not therefore let my body die for the sake of the rock.’
    solid, material, real, physical, tangible, touchable, tactile, palpable, visible, existing
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    1. 1.1 Specific; definite.
      ‘I haven't got any concrete proof’
      • ‘In Pinter, this threat does not come in abstract terms; it is concrete and palpable.’
      • ‘In the child's mind these are concrete rules, and physical realities that the child can relate to.’
      • ‘The Democrat needs to be concrete and specific.’
      • ‘He said that he will have to wait until he gets a concrete sense of what exactly will happen to the physical location of the Bomber.’
      • ‘Consequently, teachers must carefully analyze any visual materials for concrete congruency with their lesson objectives.’
      • ‘And you repeat this over and over again, so that even when for example there be concrete instances in which you can document the ongoing existence of racism.’
      • ‘I can't answer it in a very concrete or specific way.’
      • ‘Almost all of my work stems from a concern with the strange juxtaposition of the very abstract and the very concrete.’
      • ‘Fukuyama's arguments are at once too abstract and too concrete.’
      • ‘There was also the concrete link of the physical presence on American soil of the largest contingent of Jews from the Diaspora, as well as the biblical link between Calvinism and Judaism.’
      • ‘There is no fast solution, and that's why proposing concrete solutions to specific problems isn't as easy as it sounds.’
      • ‘For them, the general feeling of humiliation and powerlessness has materialized in a concrete way.’
      • ‘Let us continue to pray for the nation but let us also make concrete plans that are informed by the physical and natural experiences we have garnered over time.’
      • ‘Our own proposal is concrete, and has specific policy actions.’
      • ‘Why is it that judges are so concerned about having real, concrete cases and refusing to decide questions in the abstract?’
      • ‘Notice how he is more concrete, focusing on existing institutions and building on those to create an articulated Anglosphere.’
      • ‘But quite apart from the silliness of it all, it's a usefully concrete, physical metaphor for what much of our software already does.’
      • ‘I wish I had a more concrete, definite, positive, upbeat answer to give.’
      • ‘The silence of a king can be charming, but the silence of a prime minister on a definite problem means a concrete position.’
      • ‘It came through concrete example and abstract argument.’
      definite, specific, firm, positive, conclusive, definitive
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    2. 1.2 (of a noun) denoting a material object as opposed to an abstract quality, state, or action.
      • ‘I look for concrete qualities like stamina - whether they get tired if they're pushed.’
      • ‘The only cure is for them to be caged in solid concrete walls.’
      • ‘The count-mass distinction, though explicated most easily on the example of concrete objects and physical substances, applies equally to entities in other domains.’
      • ‘Well firstly because they're concrete objects, and toys they could play with.’
      • ‘Abney and Johnson take particular care to define their terms and provide concrete examples backing up their major points.’
      • ‘His concrete and physical films are - along with Bresson's Notes de la cinématogaphie - probably still the best lead to the core of the problem.’
      • ‘I've always liked to work with concrete material because dance is very ephemeral.’
      • ‘He compared grammar with geometry because they both abstracted from concrete instances to provide laws and rules for individual cases.’
      • ‘It was, perhaps, his familiarity with Surrealism that caused Wroblewski to endow his art with a combination of concrete and dreamy qualities.’
      • ‘Trials with Stockport and Crewe failed to materialise into anything concrete.’
      • ‘In Australian materialism space triumphs over concrete place.’
      • ‘No-one gets warm feelings when they hear about a ‘season’ in the abstract as opposed to a particular concrete holiday.’
      • ‘While it is obviously false to say that nouns, as a class, designate concrete objects, we should certainly expect a concrete object to be named by a noun.’
      • ‘Time is as much part of Goldsworthy's palette as any of the concrete materials he uses - when the dome falls apart it's as much a part of the work as when it's just sitting there.’
      • ‘That is, a species is a concrete particular, not a group noun.’
      • ‘In the whole 4700-word article, the only concrete example of the language is presented in this passage.’
      • ‘You can't turn abstract ideas into concrete things.’
      • ‘They are terms used to describe a mysterious state of awareness, or presence, that is the driving or animating force behind the externalized, concrete physical body that surrounds it.’
      • ‘Moreover, the piece only refers to a concrete physical setting twice.’
      • ‘The concrete utterance of a nursery rhyme inaugurates a certain creativity, and absorbs the attention of the child into the world of how sound is made.’


mass noun
  • A building material made from a mixture of broken stone or gravel, sand, cement, and water, which can be spread or poured into moulds and forms a mass resembling stone on hardening.

    ‘slabs of concrete’
    as modifier ‘concrete blocks’
    • ‘Fresh concrete is then poured over the slabs on site to produce a floor some 10 inches thick.’
    • ‘All round the site there were nice looking young men, with muscles, shovelling sand, cleaning moulds, and pouring concrete.’
    • ‘The paving - chunks of broken concrete with bands of black river rock set in the mortar between them - feels Spanish.’
    • ‘A slab foundation is made by building wooden forms and pouring the concrete into these forms.’
    • ‘You will need to buy a bag of sand mix cement to re-cement the floor area around the sump well and the broken concrete.’
    • ‘Six months on, much of the town is still submerged in broken masonry and fallen concrete.’
    • ‘With all of this to deal with, which Thai is really worried about falling concrete from abandoned buildings, or being run down in a pedestrian crossing while crossing the street?’
    • ‘Former US president Jimmy Carter laid bricks and spread concrete yesterday as he helped in a low-income housing project.’
    • ‘After that war, he went into the construction business, building anything that required concrete.’
    • ‘The substance of the building is in-situ concrete, in the form of columns and slabs.’
    • ‘All footpaths will have proper, cement concrete block curb stones.’
    • ‘We've discussed in earlier articles some of the considerations required when working with Portland cement concrete.’
    • ‘Built of reinforced cement concrete, the house is fireproof.’
    • ‘The fitments have been vandalised and the flaking concrete of the buildings is smothered in graffiti.’
    • ‘In the case of new concrete, any mould oil contamination should be removed by washing with a detergent solution and rinsing with clean water.’
    • ‘The group provides stone and readymix and pre-cast concrete to the construction industry.’
    • ‘The only solid building of brick and concrete is Omar's house.’
    • ‘Of course everyone builds ramps, but they don't last very long, so we just started building concrete so it would last.’
    • ‘Precast concrete, reinforced masonry, and steel angles are commonly used as lintels.’
    • ‘The structure was completed in 1937, using steel and mass concrete with sand quarried in Joe Mangan's field.’


[with object]
  • 1Cover (an area) with concrete.

    ‘the precious English countryside may soon be concreted over’
    • ‘Flowers, shrubs and neatly mown lawns have been concreted over so people can park their cars there instead.’
    • ‘Several cars routinely park outside the Old Dairy building, which is bordered by a wide concreted area that effectively forms a wide pavement on to the road.’
    • ‘Guangdong is the heartland of China's manufacturing boom, a commercial gold-rush region whose paddy fields have been concreted over with industrial parks over the past 20 years.’
    • ‘But less than a decade after the agreement was reached, the new meadow is being concreted over to make way for yet more cars.’
    • ‘One part of Tokyo, Sumida, was faced with urban flooding during rain as 80 per cent of its surface area was concreted.’
    • ‘The wide ramp will give wheelchair access to the garden at the centre and the volunteers also concreted the shed area in the garden as well as giving the garden a tidy up.’
    • ‘And here is Howard himself, suggesting to the citizens of Milton Keynes last Friday that immigration will contribute to their green fields being concreted over.’
    • ‘The Government has been accused of opening the floodgates to mass development of farmland that could see the countryside concreted over.’
    • ‘But the past is a fraught and contested site which, like the sunshine state itself, can either be left pristine or concreted over.’
    • ‘The site has been scrubbed clean and concreted over.’
    • ‘It will either be landscaped or concreted over in some way.’
    • ‘Both banks of the river have been concreted over and are covered with houses.’
    • ‘For some inexplicable reason the natural paths over Po Toi's beautiful and rugged landscape have been concreted over.’
    • ‘Some well known sights are going to disappear, most notably the ageing Atlantis water park, which will be concreted over for a parade of shops and other facilities, and the Waffle Shop.’
    • ‘People living close to the site packed a public meeting last year about the plans, fearing the only remaining green space in the area would end up concreted over.’
    • ‘It was covered over with two pieces of Yorkshire stone which had been concreted over.’
    • ‘Anne was the only famous Brontë not be buried in the church crypt at Haworth, near Bradford, which was concreted over earlier this century.’
    • ‘Ann, 55, said the couple had been condemned to their grey view by a previous owner of the 1847 cottage in Woodhouses who had concreted over the front garden to make a driveway.’
    • ‘This has recently been taken to mean IRA arms dumps must be concreted over or flooded, possibly with some corrosive agent being added.’
    • ‘The government has bowed to the pressure and is proposing an ill-thought-out reform of planning controls, which would guarantee that the south-east would be concreted over.’
    1. 1.1with object and adverbial of place Fix in position with concrete.
      ‘the post is concreted into the ground’
      • ‘Just so you know, I too have received a letter (which Xade has reprinted on his blog) and I too have been to pick up a package from a safe concreted in the ground next to a well known Melbourne landmark.’
      • ‘He also replaced the chestnut paling with a chain link fence supported by steel posts concreted into the ground and covered to 1/3 of its height by wooden boarding.’
      • ‘They struck just days after the benches had been concreted into the ground in Old Station Park, Horwich.’
      • ‘Each of our paving slabs, be they 600x600, 300x300 or 600x300 has a little metallic label on the side which, if you forget to remove will not budge once the slab is concreted in.’
      • ‘Depending on the make and model of the play structure it may need to be concreted into the ground.’
  • 2archaic Form (something) into a mass; solidify.

    ‘the juices of the plants are concreted upon the surface’
    • ‘It is the same plastic exudation as that which in some cases becomes concreted into a false membrane.’
    • ‘After standing for thirteen or fourteen hours the sugar concreted into one mass.’
    • ‘I found it strangely concreted into lumps, here and there rolling about in the liquid part.’
    1. 2.1 Make real or concrete instead of abstract.
      ‘concreting God into actual form of man’
      • ‘Ger Foley had so nearly concreted his team's victory with a point in the 54th minute, giving his side a 0-11 to 1-6 lead.’
      • ‘In fact, this principle had already guided the site from it's inception, but it was now explicitly concreted into the site's ethic.’
      • ‘If Moran's goal provided Castlebar with a foundation for victory, they concreted that likelihood when hitting the first three points after the restart.’


  • be set in concrete

    • (of a policy or idea) be fixed and unalterable.

      ‘I do not regard the constitution as set in concrete’
      • ‘Here, voting patterns have been set in concrete along racial lines since the British began dismantling their empire in the 1950's.’
      • ‘My childlike thinking made it difficult to understand consequences without them being set in concrete.’
      • ‘Conventional media wisdom had been set in concrete.’
      • ‘Even annual maintenance fees, which used to be set in concrete, are sometimes negotiable.’
      • ‘The Dallas policy, with a few modifications by Rome, is set in concrete.’
      • ‘But critics remain skeptical, saying that a decision may already be set in concrete.’
      • ‘It made me wonder whether it was set in concrete before I actually made the trek.’
      • ‘Serville says he is considering opening a new academy in Wellington, but nothing is set in concrete.’
      • ‘Sunday is set in concrete for your recording time.’
      • ‘The date has already been set in concrete, given the logistics of the event and the need for it to run smoothly.’
  • in the concrete

    • formal In reality or in practice.

      ‘the difference between war in the abstract and war in the concrete’
      • ‘Kiarostami's films are always rooted in the concrete, in specific characters, places, objects.’
      • ‘Use the hardness of the aggregates in the concrete, and regularly consult your supplier, to guide your decision about the right diamond product to use.’
      • ‘Even in the crucible of war, we have discovered that our worst critics love us in the concrete as much as they hate us in the abstract.’
      • ‘Maybe they've lost the capacity to see these lives in the concrete, as individuals, irreplaceable.’
      • ‘But there is no reason why exegesis in the concrete should be considered apart from a theological reading.’


Late Middle English (in the sense ‘solidified’): from French concret or Latin concretus, past participle of concrescere ‘grow together’. Early use was also as a grammatical term designating a quality belonging to a substance (usually expressed by an adjective such as white in white paper) as opposed to the quality itself (expressed by an abstract noun such as whiteness); later concrete came to be used to refer to nouns embodying attributes (e.g. fool, hero), as opposed to the attributes themselves (e.g. foolishness, heroism), and this is the basis of the modern use as the opposite of ‘abstract’. The noun sense ‘building material’ dates from the mid 19th century.