as·phalt | \ ˈas-ˌfȯlt also ˈash- , especially British -ˌfalt \
variants: or less commonly asphaltum \as-ˈfȯl-təm, 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

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Other words from asphalt


asphaltic \as-ˈfȯl-tik, especially British-ˈfal- \ adjective

Examples of asphalt in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

On the surface The bulk of the project would involve the removal and replacement of 2 inches of asphalt, with no substantial changes to the concrete surface below it, said Valbon Latifi, project engineer with Bloom Companies. Jim Riccioli, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "State officials present plans for Highway 83 work south from Mukwonago," 12 Feb. 2018 The project includes removing the top layers of old pavement and applying an overlay of high quality rubberized asphalt that will add durability to the roadway and create a smoother ride for motorists, reported Caltrans. Ramona Sentinel, "Caltrans begins $11M repairs on Route 78," 11 July 2018 The work will include routing and cleaning street cracks and filling them in hot asphalt to prevent moisture from seeping in, so as to prolong the life of the road surface. Hank Beckman,, "La Grange approves road resurfacing to begin this summer," 10 July 2018 On a recent June afternoon, Sheriff Rowles returned to the patch of asphalt where Mr. Byrd, 49 and a father of three, had been dumped. New York Times, "In Texas, a Decades-Old Hate Crime, Forgiven but Never Forgotten," 9 July 2018 The nearest city is 80 miles away, with the connecting road a tattered ribbon of asphalt frequented by dangerous bandits. Deirdre Fernandes,, "An education in hope," 7 July 2018 For one thing, the substance applied in rejuvenating an asphalt roadway is not as thick as the sealant applied to driveways and parking lots. Dan Moran, Lake County News-Sun, "Moran: Lake County looks to rejuvenate pavement before wear-and-tear sets in," 6 July 2018 But since the asphalt surface was laid, more manufacturers have entered the fray and the records have come tumbling down. Dan Neil, WSJ, "Volkswagen’s All-Electric Effort to Climb Out of Its P.R. Hole," 4 July 2018 Frito-Lay operates a co-generating plant next to an asphalt company in the adjacent industrial park. Denise Coffey, Courant Community, "Not All Questions, Concerns Addressed At NTE Project Meeting," 2 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

And asphalt super-late model specials at Slinger, Madison International Speedway in the Town of Rutland and Wisconsin International Raceway in Kaukauna. Dave Kallmann, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A track opener — even a ragged one — is just the cure for a racing fan's spring fever," 29 Apr. 2018

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.

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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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Statistics for asphalt

Last Updated

18 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for asphalt

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

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More Definitions for asphalt



English Language Learners Definition of asphalt

: a black substance that is used for making roads


as·phalt | \ ˈas-ˌfȯlt \

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

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Comments on asphalt

What made you want to look up asphalt? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the setting in which something occurs

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