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

Epic dredging and landfilling followed, then eventually a ghastly sprawl of asphalt. Dan Zak, Washington Post, "The Democratic debate is being held at ‘ground zero’ for the threat of rising seas. Can the climate candidate get a word in edgewise?," 27 June 2019 But in the winter, temperatures drop below 40 degrees and a raw wind lashes miles of asphalt. Rachel Swan,, "BART’s end of the line surges with homeless as misery plays out each night," 22 June 2019 The company’s digital copy mirrors the position of curbstones and driveways within centimeters, and textures like the grain of asphalt within millimeters. Tom Simonite, WIRED, "How Amazon Cloned a Neighborhood to Test Its Delivery Robots," 14 June 2019 Reconstruction of the intersection of Old McHenry and Robert Parker Coffin roads in downtown Long Grove approached a milestone this week when the officials announced final application of asphalt could begin the week of June 17. News-sun Staff, Lake County News-Sun, "The finish line is in sight for reconstruction of Old McHenry and Coffin roads," 14 June 2019 However, this could hinder both his growth as a runner and his chances of receiving a scholarship, as running on asphalt or concrete instead of a softer surface could cause injuries. Kimberly Mitchell, The Mercury News, "Community members mourn loss of historic San Jose State track," 20 June 2019 Crews still have some concrete, asphalt and median restoration work ahead, Adams said. Bob Warren,, "U.S. 190 ‘super street’ project on North Shore nears completion," 19 June 2019 The Sun, in a 1910 report that announced that the road would be getting a new bridge over Herring Run, listed the main streets (North and Wilkens avenues and Washington Boulevard) that were being covered with asphalt. Jacques Kelly,, "Spanning Herring Run, the old Harford Road Bridge weathered a rough start," 8 June 2019 City parks have long been a place for urban residents surrounded by the gray of asphalt and concrete to get a small dose of green. National Geographic, "As the climate crisis worsens, cities turn to parks," 21 May 2019

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

10 Jul 2019

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 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

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


an act or instance of editing or removing

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