Definition of asbestos
: any of several minerals (such as chrysotile) that readily separate into long flexible fibers, that cause asbestosis and have been implicated as causes of certain cancers, and that have been used especially formerly as fireproof insulating materials
Recent Examples of asbestos from the Web
The steam pipe explosion in downtown Baltimore damaged 33 vehicles last week — and sprayed poisonous asbestos onto several cars.
Colleagues scrutinizing past cases during a 13-year career as a lawyer — most dealing with asbestos lawsuits — found only one that had sparked any obvious friction.
Once classes ended last month, crews began readying for demolition by removing anything with asbestos.
That included window caulking and chalkboards that were glued to the walls with a substance containing asbestos.
In January, health and safety concerns raised by Trailwood parents prompted the district to delay an asbestos abatement until spring break and demolition of the old Trailwood building to the summer session when kids are not in school.
That chamber, in a building found to contain asbestos packed into its floor tiles, is closed and would require renovations to reopen, according to people familiar with war court logistics.
In addition, asbestos throughout the structure would require professional remediation, and the foundation is crumbling.
A consulting company recently took samples from inside the arch and will test them for the presence of asbestos.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'asbestos'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
A grayish mineral that separates readily into long, flexible fibers, asbestos was used in the past to make brake linings, insulation, roofing shingles, floor and ceiling tiles, cement pipes, and other building materials. Asbestos fabrics were used for safety apparel and theater curtains. In the 1970s, it was found that prolonged inhalation of the tiny asbestos fibers can cause asbestosis, lung cancer, and other serious lung diseases. In 1989, the US Government instituted a gradual ban on the manufacture, use, and export of most products made with asbestos.
Origin and Etymology of asbestos
Middle English albeston mineral supposed to be inextinguishable when set on fire, probably from Middle French abeston, from Medieval Latin asbeston, alteration of Latin asbestos, from Greek, unslaked lime, from asbestos inextinguishable, from a- + sbennynai to quench
First Known Use: 1607See Words from the same year
ASBESTOS Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of asbestos for English Language Learners
: a soft gray mineral that does not burn, that was used especially as a building material in the past, and that can cause serious diseases of the lungs when people breathe its dust
ASBESTOS Defined for Kids
Definition of asbestos for Students
: a grayish mineral that separates easily into long flexible fibers and has been used especially in the past in making fireproof materials
Medical Definition of asbestos
: any of several minerals that readily separate into long flexible fibers, that cause asbestosis and have been implicated as causes of certain cancers, and that have been used especially formerly as fireproof insulating materials
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up asbestos? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).