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

Examples of bitumen in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The decision follows by weeks a Supreme Court of Canada ruling that the British Columbia government cannot regulate or block the passage of bitumen crude oil from Alberta. Houston Chronicle, "Canadian court rejects challenge to pipeline, tankers," 5 Feb. 2020 Fed by air or oxygen pumped into the ground, the fire releases gases that can push oil toward wells, and its heat can soften tarlike bitumens and other heavy oils, making them easier to pump. Eric Hand, Science | AAAS, "Company to harvest green hydrogen from underground oil fires," 6 Feb. 2020 Black, sticky, and viscous, bitumen is a form of petroleum found in areas around the Dead Sea. National Geographic, "Europe's morbid 'mummy craze' has been an obsession for centuries," 10 Dec. 2019 Its technical manager Wynand Nortje says its method of melting the plastic into the bitumen modifier minimizes the risk of microplastics. Emma Reynolds, CNN, "This company is using recycled plastic milk bottles to repave roads in South Africa," 30 Oct. 2019 Officials said a mixture of bitumen, straw and plywood in the roof cavity of the seven-story structure was continuing to burn and firefighters could not properly access the area. Washington Post, "Fire burning for 2nd day disrupts center of New Zealand city," 23 Oct. 2019 Its final environmental impact statement in 2014 said bitumen would be extracted irrespective of the pipeline, and shipping the crude by rail or tanker instead would result in 28% to 42% greater CO2 emissions as well as more leaks. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "A Judicial Keystone Kop," 13 Nov. 2018 Crude-bitumen extraction in the western province of Alberta expanded in the month after maintenance and other shutdowns occurred at some facilities in April. Kim Mackrael, WSJ, "Canada GDP Rose in May, Beating Expectations," 31 July 2018 While an oil bottleneck in Alberta this year has caused bitumen to trade at a discount of about $40 to West Texas Intermediate, railroad companies are quickly adding capacity. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "A Judicial Keystone Kop," 13 Nov. 2018

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

Last Updated

27 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bitumen.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bitumen. Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on bitumen

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

February 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of probity?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

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!