If I'm talking about stuff things are made of (e.g. the brick is made of wood) or about materials as such not concrete objects (e.g. butter as material not as a pack of butter or the matter "inside" stones) is "substance" the most general term? I mean both artificial and natural objects.

  • You may be looking for components here. E.g., The components of concrete are water, aggregate, and Portland cement. Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 22:48
  • After more thought: perhaps constituents is the word you need. I admit that you threw me with the "bricks made of wood," though. Commented Aug 10, 2016 at 3:45
  • @P.E.Dant I can't call things that look like briks but are not briks "briks"? I mean in the shape of briks. Commented Aug 11, 2016 at 9:28
  • Oh! In English, without other context, a brick is a rectangular block made of baked clay. We would say block of wood to describe what you meant. Commented Aug 11, 2016 at 16:17

1 Answer 1


Maybe you are looking for matter? It's pretty general.


  1. a : the substance of which a physical object is composed
  • Now, when you asked, I feel like probably I was looking for this one. :) Thanks. But what is the difference in meaning with the substance? Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 19:10
  • I think the answer lies in their scientific meanings. I can't remember, but I think everything physical is made of matter. In plain English, it sounds strange to say "everything is made of substance" (at least to me it sounds strange).
    – Em.
    Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 19:19

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