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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-
: 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
: an asphaltic composition used for pavements and as a waterproof cement
as-ˈfȯl-tik How to pronounce asphalt (audio)
 especially British  -ˈfal-


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asphalted; asphalting; asphalts

transitive verb

: to cover with asphalt : pave sense 1

Examples of asphalt in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Advertisement The plan still represents an addition of more than 980,000 square feet to the 25-acre site at Beverly Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue that retains a suburban-style low-density appearance with soundstages, low-rise offices and support facilities flanked by asphalt parking lots. Roger Vincent, Los Angeles Times, 4 Apr. 2024 The port serves as the primary entry point for asphalt in the United States, with imports totaling about 4,000 BPD in 2023, sourced mainly from Canada. Robert Rapier, Forbes, 28 Mar. 2024 The city known for excess and summer pool parties began counting every drop, even the small dribbles flowing onto asphalt. Daniel Rothberg, Smithsonian Magazine, 26 Mar. 2024 Class 1 e-bikes, already allowed on paved or asphalt trails, would be allowed on dirt trails, while Class 2 e-bikes would be allowed on unpaved and paved trails, as long as the rider has an impairment and a permit from the DNR. Jennifer Dixon, Detroit Free Press, 20 Mar. 2024 Hexagonal asphalt tiles were placed and granite blocks were laid out in intricate herringbone and basket-weave patterns, forming the distinctive path that is now traversed by 42 million visitors every year. Anna Kodé, New York Times, 15 Mar. 2024 Five men — one to control traffic, one to drive the truck towing a machine that keeps hot asphalt mix from drying and three filling, smoothing and tamping down the holes — went hunting through several residential streets on the near eastside. Rory Appleton, The Indianapolis Star, 4 Mar. 2024 Where large tracts of land are not available, sponge city projects are replacing concrete and asphalt with permeable pavement, installing green roofs and creating trenches called bioswales that channel storm-water runoff and use vegetation to filter out debris and pollution. Richard Schiffman, New York Times, 28 Mar. 2024 Plants’ sensitivity to temperature explains why flowers in the countryside bloom later than in nearby cities, where concrete and asphalt trap more heat than natural landscapes. Harry Stevens, Washington Post, 22 Mar. 2024
As is typical behavior for the animals, the majority of holes are in fairly close proximity to the pond, but Hart noticed one of particular concern which seemed to be leading to a burrow beneath the parks asphalt walking track. Patrick Camp The Cullman Times, al, 7 July 2023 In the pasture nearby, her Irish sport horse, Valhalla, rolled on its back contentedly, as Ms. Uhlar enumerated the roads lost to asphalt during her lifetime. Jim Zarroli, New York Times, 7 Jan. 2023 Away's trend-setting polycarbonate shell still holds up in its large checked bag, which comes in a dozen shades from blush pink to asphalt gray and sky blue. Madison Flager, Condé Nast Traveler, 4 Nov. 2022 And there are series for dirt, asphalt oval, and road course. Ezra Dyer, Car and Driver, 2 Oct. 2022 Kids are at risk too, thanks to asphalt schoolyards that can hit 145 degrees in the San Fernando Valley, Alejandra Reyes-Velarde reports. Sammy Rothstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 8 Sep. 2022 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

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'asphalt.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



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

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1841, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near asphalt

Cite this Entry

“Asphalt.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
as·​phalt ˈas-ˌfȯlt How to pronounce asphalt (audio)
: a brown to black substance that is found in natural beds or obtained as something left in petroleum or coal-tar refining and that consists chiefly of compounds of carbon and hydrogen
: any of various compositions of asphalt having different uses (as for pavement or for waterproof cement or paint)
asphaltic adjective


2 of 2 verb
: to cover with asphalt

More from Merriam-Webster on asphalt

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