as·​phalt | \ ˈas-ˌfȯlt How to pronounce asphalt (audio) also ˈash-, especially British -ˌfalt \
variants: or less commonly asphaltum \ as-​ˈfȯl-​təm How to pronounce asphalt (audio) , especially British  -​ˈfal-​ \

Definition of asphalt

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a dark bituminous substance that is found in natural beds and is also obtained as a residue in petroleum refining and that consists chiefly of hydrocarbons
2 : an asphaltic composition used for pavements and as a waterproof cement


asphalted; asphalting; asphalts

Definition of asphalt (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to cover with asphalt : pave sense 1

Other Words from asphalt


asphaltic \ as-​ˈfȯl-​tik How to pronounce asphalt (audio) , especially British  -​ˈfal-​ \ adjective

Examples of asphalt in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Pannell punched and handcuffed Eiteman, then placed his knee on the sergeant’s head and neck while pressing his face into the asphalt, according to documents in the decision. Tim Stelloh, NBC News, 6 Aug. 2022 Dark things like asphalt absorbs sunlight and emits that energy back into the air as heat. Angela Dewan, CNN, 4 Aug. 2022 The Yellow Lot south of the stadium also is asphalt and includes about 2,000 spaces. San Diego Union-Tribune, 3 Aug. 2022 Since pets are close to the ground, the hot asphalt can also contribute to their body heating up very quickly. Fox News, 2 Aug. 2022 This was on the dry asphalt of a Swedish test track and despite Kia's fitment of performance Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires rather than low-rolling-resistance rubber. Mike Duff, Car and Driver, 1 Aug. 2022 The asphalt then releases heat back into the atmosphere at night. Jamie Hailstone, Forbes, 1 Aug. 2022 Neighborhoods on Salt Lake City’s west side often find dark traces of car wheels on their asphalt. Alixel Cabrera, The Salt Lake Tribune, 31 July 2022 This procession of heavily laden trucks is already degrading the asphalt, meaning Route 199 will have to be resurfaced much earlier than scheduled, and at substantial cost. Taras Grescoe, Smithsonian Magazine, 28 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Lined with wood chips and bark dust, the 4.4-mile loop was inspired by Prefontaine, who suggested the idea of building a trail with an alternate surface to asphalt in the park after competing in Europe. oregonlive, 18 July 2022 On one occasion, Warner lied about the square footage and asphalt depth on an airport roadway project, creating and later approving a $938,000 bill from the subcontractor, who had only invoiced for $275,000. Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press, 11 Feb. 2022 City Council is expected to soon approve numerous service department expenditures, including a brand-new chipper ($59,280), leaf vacuums ($149,465) and asphalt recycler with hot box trailer ($33,348). John Benson, cleveland, 23 June 2021 That’s especially true for low-income residents, who also disproportionately live in heat islands — areas where abundant concrete and asphalt soak up the sun’s rays and radiate excess heat, driving up the cost of staying cool. Dharna Noor,, 20 May 2022 That leaves 18 gallons for other uses, from making plastics and paint to asphalt and ammonia. Bryan Pearson, Forbes, 26 Apr. 2022 Thomas says low-slope roofs have become more expensive than steep-slope, not because of the membrane, which is close to asphalt in cost, but because the removal and installation of materials is so labor-intensive. Washington Post, 13 Oct. 2021 But lobbyists and transportation experts expect an outsize portion of the pavement spending to go to asphalt, the material that paves 94% of America's roads and bridges. The New York Times, Arkansas Online, 20 Feb. 2022 But lobbyists and transportation experts expect an outsize portion of the pavement spending to go to asphalt, the material that paves 94 percent of America’s roads and bridges (the other 6 percent are paved with concrete). New York Times, 19 Feb. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'asphalt.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of asphalt


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1841, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for asphalt


Middle English aspalt, from Late Latin aspaltus, from Greek asphaltos

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Time Traveler for asphalt

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The first known use of asphalt was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

9 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Asphalt.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for asphalt


as·​phalt | \ ˈas-ˌfȯlt How to pronounce asphalt (audio) \

Kids Definition of asphalt

1 : a dark-colored substance obtained from natural deposits in the earth or from petroleum
2 : any of various materials made of asphalt that are used for pavements and as a waterproof cement

More from Merriam-Webster on asphalt

Nglish: Translation of asphalt for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of asphalt for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about asphalt


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