asbestos

noun
as·​bes·​tos | \ as-ˈbe-stəs How to pronounce asbestos (audio) , az- \

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

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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.

Examples of asbestos in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The World Health Organization’s cancer research arm puts it in the highest risk category, on par with asbestos. Anna Edney, chicagotribune.com, "Some hand sanitizers used to fight COVID-19 found to be tainted with cancer-causing chemical," 24 Mar. 2021 The project also encountered unexpected delays, first from the discovery of asbestos that needed removal, and later when COVID-19 struck. BostonGlobe.com, "Somerville builds for future with $256 million high school," 19 Mar. 2021 Much work went into creating the dream, including removing asbestos. cleveland, "Olmsted Community Center is a ‘ministry’ of love, memories: Olmsted Dates and Data," 22 Mar. 2021 Consolidation was part of an asbestos litigation strategy that helped Peter Angelos win more than a billion dollars worth of settlements in the early 1990s. Justin Fenton, baltimoresun.com, "Thousands of Maryland asbestos-poisoning lawsuits that waited years for trial are now being dropped or dismissed," 5 Mar. 2021 Joe Novoseller, Aria’s managing principal, said plans for St. Augustine — 46 market-rate units — took longer than expected to complete as did removing asbestos and finishing interior demolition. Kenneth R. Gosselin, courant.com, "These are the 8 most endangered historic properties in Hartford; the list includes a Catholic school, a church and an old brewery," 21 Feb. 2021 The firm has about two-thirds of the asbestos cases pending in the court. Justin Fenton, baltimoresun.com, "Thousands of Maryland asbestos-poisoning lawsuits that waited years for trial are now being dropped or dismissed," 5 Mar. 2021 Ahmed tells us that his uncle, his lungs wrecked by work in an asbestos factory, was killed by COVID. Helen Shaw, Vulture, "Performing for Ghosts: Riz Ahmed’s The Long Goodbye," 20 Feb. 2021 Examples include the July 2018 award of $550 million in actual damages and $4.14 billion in punitive damages to 22 plaintiffs who claimed their ovarian cancer was caused by exposure to asbestos allegedly found in Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder. John Haughey, Washington Examiner, "St. Louis is nation’s seventh-worst ‘judicial hellhole’: Report," 9 Dec. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of asbestos

1607, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for 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

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Learn More about asbestos

Time Traveler for asbestos

Time Traveler

The first known use of asbestos was in 1607

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Statistics for asbestos

Last Updated

6 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Asbestos.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/asbestos. Accessed 13 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for asbestos

asbestos

noun

English Language Learners Definition of asbestos

: 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

noun
as·​bes·​tos | \ as-ˈbes-təs How to pronounce asbestos (audio) , az- \

Kids Definition of asbestos

: a grayish mineral that separates easily into long flexible fibers and has been used especially in the past in making fireproof materials

asbestos

noun
as·​bes·​tos | \ as-ˈbes-təs How to pronounce asbestos (audio) , az- How to pronounce asbestos (audio) \

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on asbestos

Nglish: Translation of asbestos for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of asbestos for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about asbestos

Comments on asbestos

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