bitumen

noun
bi·​tu·​men | \ bə-ˈtyü-mən How to pronounce bitumen (audio) , bī-, -ˈtü-, especially British also ˈbit-yə- \

Definition of bitumen

1 : an asphalt of Asia Minor used in ancient times as a cement and mortar
2 : any of various mixtures of hydrocarbons (such as tar) often together with their nonmetallic derivatives that occur naturally or are obtained as residues after heat-refining natural substances (such as petroleum) specifically : such a mixture soluble in carbon disulfide

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from bitumen

bituminization \ bə-​ˌtyü-​mə-​nə-​ˈzā-​shən How to pronounce bitumen (audio) , bī-​ , -​ˌtü-​ \ noun
bituminize \ bə-​ˈtyü-​mə-​ˌnīz How to pronounce bitumen (audio) , bī-​ , -​ˈtü-​ \ transitive verb

Examples of bitumen in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Shipping bitumen by rail or tanker would result in 28% to 42% higher CO2 emissions and more leaks. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Biden’s Keystone Pipeline Kill," 20 Jan. 2021 Trains would carry various commodities, like bitumen, grain, fertilizer, pipe, containers and sulfur as well as passengers, Treadwell said. Morgan Krakow, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump tweets intent to issue permit for rail line connecting Alaska to Canada and Lower 48," 27 Sep. 2020 The binding agent in traditional asphalt paving is a black sticky substance called bitumen, produced by oil refining. Lindsey Mcginnis, The Christian Science Monitor, "Points of Progress: Building a recycled highway, and more," 14 Sep. 2020 Monty threw that carburetor across the driveway and down the street, crashing into the bitumen and fully unbuckling in front of the townhouse where my aunt, just a few years ago, used to live. Nicole Walker, Longreads, "(Who Gets to) Just Up and Move," 10 Aug. 2020 Ours is bare, with a rubbery gray coating occasionally interrupted by strips of plain black bitumen. Kate Knibbs, Wired, "Quarantined in New York, We Escape Skyward," 23 June 2020 And in the Bible, Noah sealed his arc with bitumen to make the vessel more hydrodynamic. Adrienne Bernhard, Popular Mechanics, "How the Obscure Science of Rubbing Built the Past and Will Shape the Future," 7 Apr. 2020 Instead, oil companies must steam or mine a sticky, tar-like substance called bitumen out of the ground. Michael J. Coren, Quartz, "Covid-19 is closing Canada’s carbon-intensive oil sands for business," 29 Apr. 2020 But in addition to being a fossil fuel, bitumen is difficult to extract and energy-intensive to process. Clifford Krauss, New York Times, "Canada Oil-Sands Plan Collapses Over Politics and Economics," 24 Feb. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bitumen.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of bitumen

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for bitumen

Middle English bithumen mineral pitch, from Latin bitumin-, bitumen

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about bitumen

Time Traveler for bitumen

Time Traveler

The first known use of bitumen was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for bitumen

Cite this Entry

“Bitumen.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bitumen. Accessed 18 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on bitumen

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about bitumen

Comments on bitumen

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Typeshift

Anagram puzzles meet word search.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!