late 14c., "actual, solid; particular, individual; denoting a substance," from Latin concretus "condensed, hardened, stiff, curdled, congealed, clotted," figuratively "thick; dim," literally "grown together;" past participle of concrescere "to grow together," from assimilated form of com "together" (see con-) + crescere "to grow" (from PIE root *ker- (2) "to grow").
A logicians' term (opposed to abstract) until meaning began to expand 1600s (see concrete (n.)). Concrete poetry (1958), which depends much on the form or shape of its printing, is translated from terms coined independently in mid-1950s in Brazil (poesia concreta) and Germany (die konkrete Dichtung).
1520s, "that which is material or not abstract," a noun use of concrete (adj.). Meaning "a mass formed by concretion" is from 1650s, from the literal sense of Latin concretus. Hence "building material made from sand, gravel, stone chips, etc., cemented together" (1834).
updated on February 21, 2018