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

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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 All that’s left today of an ancient boat discovered in 2018 in what was formerly Uruk is the bitumen, black tar that once coated its framework of reeds, palm leaves, or wood. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, 8 Apr. 2022 That fragile organic material is long gone, leaving behind only ghostly imprints in the bitumen. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, 8 Apr. 2022 There are still roughly 170 billion barrels of thick, tar-like bitumen under boreal forests in the Canadian province of Alberta, the largest amount outside of Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Iran. Vipal Monga, WSJ, 13 Jan. 2022 Cargo documents for the Asphalt Princess obtained by The Washington Post show that during 2021 the ship has also transported refined oil products, bitumen and rubber process oil — which are covered by U.S. sanctions — from Iran to Oman and China. Washington Post, 4 Jan. 2022 The rest were showing physical stuff — works made not only from paint, but also scrap metal, elephant dung, taxidermied pigeons, hairdressers’ endpapers, wax, wool, black soap and bitumen. Washington Post, 18 Dec. 2021 To extract bitumen from the sand, oil companies heat it and then treat it in a slurry of water and solvents. NBC News, 22 Nov. 2021 In other parts of Alberta, where the sands are too deep to mine, the bitumen is melted in place and extracted through wells by pumping high-pressure steam underground. NBC News, 22 Nov. 2021 Aduro Clean Technologies of Sarnia, Ontario, was founded in 2011 with a focus on upgrading bitumen, which is a semi-solid form of petroleum found in abundance in Canada. Robert Rapier, Forbes, 10 Oct. 2021 See More

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for bitumen

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

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Dictionary Entries Near bitumen



bitumen process

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Last Updated

4 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Bitumen.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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