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

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Other Words from asphalt


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

Examples of asphalt in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The track is made of asphalt except for a 3-foot wide strip of bricks that mark the start/finish line. Scott Horner, Indianapolis Star, "They're called 'yellow shirts' and other things to know before going to the Indy 500," 26 Apr. 2018 The shifting of the clay soil underneath and asphalt has created bumps that have forced many repairs over the years. Jim Vertuno, The Seattle Times, "Marquez again wins pole position at MotoGP in Austin," 13 Apr. 2019 The church is gone, along with an asphalt road and houses that once stood in the farming village, called Jono Oge. Ben Otto, WSJ, "Where the Earth Became a River: Indonesia Quake Liquefied Solid Ground," 5 Oct. 2018 Out here, even the airport lacks an asphalt road leading to it. Jason Harper, Condé Nast Traveler, "On the Hunt for Dinosaur Bones in the Gobi Desert," 20 July 2018 The four-lane concrete boulevard will replace a two-lane asphalt road, said Slawinski. Karen Zurawski, Houston Chronicle, "Precinct 3 to upgrade Katy-area roads," 26 June 2018 A few miles out of town, past soybean fields and empty asphalt roads, Scott Ditter, a dairy farmer who sent milk from his cows to the Sartori factory that morning, defended the president’s actions. New York Times, "Trump’s Trade War Could Shut Cheesemakers Out of Foreign Markets," 24 June 2018 The two-lane asphalt road connects Norco and Montz and is a popular shortcut for motorists. Littice Bacon-blood,, "Bonnet Carre Spillway Road to reopen Tuesday," 4 June 2018 The patent application describes semi-autonomous or fully autonomous cars driving themselves to a nice, sunny spot (probably on some hot asphalt), parking, turning on the heat, slightly cracking the windows, and intermittently running the engine. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "Ford dreams up a way to kill ‘new car smell’," 20 Nov. 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

15 May 2019

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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 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on asphalt

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with asphalt

Spanish Central: Translation of asphalt

Nglish: Translation of asphalt for Spanish Speakers

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

Comments on asphalt

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something valued as if it were money

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