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

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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 The cars bounce on the asphalt, practically defying gravity at the top of each arc. Los Angeles Times, 14 May 2021 The body-camera video released by Richmond police opens with Peters on his back, on the side of Interstate 95, naked, writhing and screaming, making snow-angel motions on the asphalt. Washington Post, 26 Apr. 2021 On May 2, 2009, Fonz lay sprawled out on the asphalt near the intersection of Market and 15th streets. Andre Toran, The Courier-Journal, 24 Nov. 2020 Many of the early dining parklets were designed to get through the summer as cheaply as possible, an understandable response that often translated to a few tables and chairs set on asphalt. John King, San Francisco Chronicle, 15 Nov. 2020 For its first seven years, the pioneering San Francisco CrossFit gym was essentially a shipping container, some canopies and a portable toilet on the asphalt. Sarah Feldberg,, 14 Nov. 2020 About 150 feet beyond the track's unusual start/finish line location, which is just before the signature dogleg bend, is an arrow painted on the asphalt. Michael Knight, The Arizona Republic, 8 Nov. 2020 Owner Deena Edelstein created a makeshift patio there in June, setting out several large, round tables on the asphalt. USA TODAY, 8 Oct. 2020 Abella noted that asphalt repair work in Wards 1 and 2 has already begun. Brian Lisik, cleveland, 25 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The area, which is directly in front of the San Diego Air & Space Museum, was previously the South Palisades asphalt parking lot. Jennifer Van Grove, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3 Mar. 2021 The facility will be used to produce a sealant to be applied to asphalt surfaces. Tom Sissom, Arkansas Online, 7 May 2021 How much fugitive dust and emissions would the concrete and asphalt plants generate? Steven Litt, cleveland, 1 May 2021 Buena Vista Baptist Church now worships a couple thousand feet from a methanol plant and asphalt depot. Washington Post, 19 Apr. 2021 Other outlets for that federal funding include infrastructure projects like converting 34 miles of tar-and-chip roads to asphalt. James Whitlow,, 12 Apr. 2021 Both transformed to asphalt and stock cars through the ARCA Series and made their way to NASCAR in their early 20s. Bill Center, San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Nov. 2020 One of these years legislators in this state will focus on human capital rather than asphalt. Rex Nelson, Arkansas Online, 15 Nov. 2020 After winning, Johnson signed contract with Herzog Motorsports that began in off-road trucks before moving to asphalt stock car racing in 1997 in the ASA Series. Bill Center, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1 Nov. 2020

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

10 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Asphalt.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jun. 2021.

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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

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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