How To:

Guest Gallery:
Concrete Artists

Andrew Goss:
Concrete Work

Original Project
  Other Ideas
Concrete Handbook
for Artists



Definitions, Word Origins
"concrete, cement, metal, precious"

TO CLARIFY the concepts in this project I have included dictionary definitions for these terms, along with word origins.

Gage Canadian Dictionary
1. a mixture of crushed stone or gravel, sand, cement, and water that hardens as it dries.
2. the hard substance resulting from the hardening of this mixture.
1. existing of itself in the material world, not merely as an idea or as a quality; real.
2. not abstract or general; specific; particular.
3. naming a thing, especially something perceived by the senses.
4. made of concrete.
5. formed into a mass; solid; hardened.

Dictionary of Word Origins, John Ayto, Arcade, New York, 1990
In origin, something concrete is something that has 'grown together.' The word comes, via Old French concret, from Latin concretus, the past participle of concrescere 'grow together,' hence 'harden.' This was a compound verb formed from the prefix com- 'together' and crescere 'grow' (source also of English crescent, increase and accrue). Its original application in English was fairly general - referring to that which is solid or material; its use for the building material did not emerge until the early 19th century.

Gage Canadian Dictionary
1. a fine grey powder made by burning clay and limestone.
2. this substance mixed with water and sand, gravel, or crushed stone to form concrete...
3. any soft substance that hardens to make things stick together.
4. a substance used to fill cavities in teeth...
5. anything that joins together or unites.

Dictionary of Word Origins, John Ayto, Arcade, New York, 1990

Cement: Latin caementa meant 'stone chips used for making mortar'; etymologically, the notion behind it was originally *caedmenta, a derivative of caedere 'cut' (from which English gets concise and decide). In due course the signification of the Latin word passed from 'small broken stones' to 'powdered stone (used for mortar),' and it was in this sense that it passed via Old French ciment into English.

Gage Canadian Dictionary
1. a substance that is usually shiny, a good conductor of heat and electricity, and can be made into wire, or hammered into sheets. Gold, silver, iron, copper, lead, tin or aluminum are metals.
2. an alloy or mixture of these such as steel or brass.
3. (adj.) made of metal or a mixture of metals.
7. material; substance.
Concise English Dictionary
1. One of a class of elementary substances which usu. present in various degrees certain physical characters as lustre, maleability, and ductility....
2. a compound of the elementary metals, an alloy.

Dictionary of Word Origins, John Ayto, Arcade, New York, 1990

Metal: Greek metallon, a word of unknown origin, has a range of meanings, including 'mine' (the original sense) and 'mineral' as well as 'metal.' These were carried over into Latin metallum, but by the time the word reached English, via Old French metal, 'metal' was all that was left. Mettle is a variant spelling of metal, used to distinguish its metaphorical senses.
Closely related to medal, which etymologically means 'something made of metal.'

Gage Canadian Dictionary
1. worth much; valuable. Gold , platinum and silver are often called the precious metals.
2. much loved; dear.
3. too nice; overrefined; affected.
4. (Informal) very great; thoroughgoing: a precious mess.
5. of great moral or spiritual worth.
Informal. very: precious little money
precious metal: a valuable metal such as gold, silver, or platinum.
precious stone: a jewel; gem. Diamonds, rubies, and sapphires are precious stones.

Webster's New World Dictionary
1. of great price or value; costly.
2. of great desirability; held in high esteem: as freedom is precious.
3. beloved; dear.
4. very fastidious, overrefined, or affected as in behaviour, language, etc.
5. egregious, arrant.
6. (Colloq.) very great: as a precious liar.

Dictionary of Word Origins, John Ayto, Arcade, New York, 1990

Precious: Latin pretiosus 'expensive, valuable, precious' was derived from pretium 'price' (source of English praise, price and prize). English acquired it via Old French precios. The sense 'affected' was introduced from French in the early 18th century.

Gage Canadian Dictionary
existing as a natural or basic quality of a person or thing:
inherent honesty, the inherent sweetness of sugar

~Andrew Goss

Last update: April 27, 1998.