I hear how russian speakers use word "concrete" a lot, but I doubt that it means what they actually want to say. My questions is: does concrete mean exact/particular/specific, or is it more about something made of concrete?

Here is an example where it sounds weird to me:

among all the t-shirts in the shop I've chosen this concrete one

Does it sound ok to you? or another one:

This issues should be addressed concretely to John.

  • 1
    Not literally made of sand & cement but more like "immovable" or "proven" or "set in stone" or "definite" or even "well known". Aug 31, 2018 at 19:51
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    Welcome to ELL.SE. Concrete has a number of different meanings, physical and metaphorical, I would advise you to check a dictionary, and if that does not help, edit your post to indicate this research and why you remain uncertain. I strongly encourage you to take the site tour and review the help center for additional guidance.
    – choster
    Aug 31, 2018 at 19:53
  • I wish I could hear an example usage, where they are using the word concrete, but you think it means something different then what they are trying to say. That would make this a very interesting question, I think.
    – J.R.
    Aug 31, 2018 at 20:38
  • "I hear how Russian speakers use the word 'concrete' a lot". Is it "конкретный" in Russian? If yes, what meaning do they assign to it in the context of the conversation? Is it synonymous to "крутой" (tough/cool), "настоящий" (real),"железобетонный" (in the sense of being adamant), or what else?
    – Victor B.
    Aug 31, 2018 at 22:46
  • Without any context, this question is hardly answerable, I think. In Russian, the adjective "конкретный"may mean "solid" and "steadfast", or "complete" as in "конретный идиот" (a babbling idiot) and "конкретный чувак" (a cool/tough guy), or "particular" (date), or whatever else the context allows.
    – Victor B.
    Aug 31, 2018 at 23:29

2 Answers 2


“Concrete” - is it a synonym of exact?

Concrete can mean a construction material. With this meaning, the context will usually be about buildings, walkways, or other similar things.

Concrete also means not abstract or not imaginary - meaning it's not a thought, or concept, but a real thing. It can also mean "meaningful" or, as Google puts it "definitive or conclusive".

It does not mean exact/particular/specific.

among all the t-shirts in the shop I've chosen this concrete one

Concrete in the "not imaginary" sense is not used like this. This sounds like you bought a shirt made out of concrete.

This issues should be addressed concretely to John.

Here, concretely means "definitive or conclusive".


I don't speak Russian but I do speak French. I think it may be the same usage you are referring to.

In that sense, we do also say concrete in English. You are also right to say that the meaning is specific or exact.

  • We are looking for concrete solutions to this problem. i.e. specific

  • There were no concrete suggestions for the action plan. i.e. specific

  • He came to the meeting but offered nothing concrete. [about some issue]

  • Can you give me a concrete example of what you mean? [particular or spe]

Excuse me for jumping the gun, but I believe that I felt what you were trying to say right away. So, English does use it but not perhaps not as much as some other languages.

This use in English means: specific, particular, real or tangible (the latter in some cases) as defined by Merriam Webster.

However, it does not have the meaning of anything directly related to the substance known as concrete, made up of three basic components: water, aggregate (rock, sand, or gravel) and Portland cement. Cement, usually in powder form, acts as a binding agent when mixed with water and aggregates. concrete as used in construction

  • I don't think this answer fits the request; although the Russian words "конкретный" (adj.) and "конкретно" (adv/) were adopted from the French "concret" in the 19th century.
    – Victor B.
    Aug 31, 2018 at 23:02
  • @Rompey Just as I suspected. The Russian usage comes from French. In any case, the usage he is trying to get at in English is the same as in French. Une solution concrète means a concrete solution where concrete is specific, particular, etc. And, of course, not anything to do with cement in French. Merriam Webster: specific, particular and of course, tangible, at times.
    – Lambie
    Sep 1, 2018 at 15:39

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