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 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 These rugged trail runners give you support, traction, and cushioning on hilly, bumpy, and otherwise definitely-not-asphalt trails. Krystin Arneson, CNN Underscored, "Shop one-day deals on Vera Bradley, Saucony, and Fossil at Amazon's Big Style Sale," 26 June 2020 The crowd of people on the bridge slowly peeled themselves from the asphalt and prepared to march. oregonlive, "‘The world needs to see this.’ The story behind the iconic photo of the Burnside Bridge protest in Portland," 23 June 2020 There’s a 1,200-car parking garage to the east and that plateau of bus bays to the west, then the asphalt expanses of Great Mall Parkway and Montague Expressway. John King,, "BART’s new South Bay stations have grand ambitions — and mixed results," 21 June 2020 Most protests have been nonviolent, but police say some officers have also been exposed to violence, including a sergeant who was hospitalized after someone threw a chunk of asphalt at him. Mica Soellner, Washington Examiner, "'We're not stopping': Arrests and gas don't scare away protesters at Robert E. Lee monument," 19 June 2020 Last summer, when Phoenix temperatures averaged 96 degrees at the airport, where official measurements are made, Solís and her colleagues got readings averaging 131 degrees at a local trailer park, which had little shade and a lot of asphalt. Stephen Leahy, National Geographic, "As summer arrives, how will the most vulnerable escape deadly heat and COVID-19?," 16 June 2020 The vast areas of the city that are paved over with concrete and asphalt soak up the heat from the sun and then radiate it at night, pushing the city's nighttime and early morning temperatures higher than surrounding rural areas. Jessica Boehm, azcentral, "More people are dying from heat in Maricopa County, data shows," 11 June 2020 As the crowd walked south to an exit, white protesters were spray-painting the asphalt and a concrete median. Anchorage Daily News, "White instigators to blame for much of mayhem, officials say," 2 June 2020 One of the photos also showed migrants, including children, sitting on the asphalt under the shade of the tent. Rafael Carranza, azcentral, "Inspection report: Overcrowding, substandard care for migrants at Border Patrol facilities in 2019 surge," 18 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The old wood, concrete and asphalt dock and seawall, possibly built in the early 1900s, partially collapsed Nov. 26. Keith Matheny, Detroit Free Press, "Company behind shoreline collapse on Detroit River proposes new seawall," 17 June 2020 Some worry that tear gas residue could stick for days or weeks to asphalt, walls, ventilation ducts and other places. Washington Post, "Hong Kong residents living with tear gas worry of effects," 5 Dec. 2019 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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Time Traveler for asphalt

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for asphalt

Last Updated

3 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Asphalt.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for asphalt


How to pronounce asphalt (audio)

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

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