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
bituminizationplay \bə-ˌtyü-mə-nə-ˈzā-shən, bī-, -ˌtü-\ noun
bituminizeplay \-ˈtyü-mə-ˌnīz, -ˈtü-\ transitive verb
Recent Examples of bitumen from the Web
Ancient people in California, Mexico and the Middle East have been using bitumen for up to 70,000 years.
Shopkeepers resort to buying sacks of bitumen and filling in the potholes outside their premises themselves.
The industry uses gas to loosen the hard bitumen rock, as well as to heat water used in the process.
But the presence of bitumen is unusual and the most likely reason is to slow the decay of the teeth.
Yarrabah, which is wedged between mountainous rain forest and the Coral Sea, first got electricity in the 1960s, followed by its first bitumen road, residents say.
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.
Origin and Etymology of bitumen
Middle English bithumen mineral pitch, from Latin bitumin-, bitumen
First Known Use: 15th centurySee Words from the same year
Seen and Heard
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