chrys·​o·​tile ˈkri-sə-ˌtī(-ə)l How to pronounce chrysotile (audio)
: a mineral consisting of a fibrous silky variety of serpentine and constituting a common form and principal source of asbestos

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Such deposits are sometimes laced with actinolite, anthophyllite, chrysotile, and tremolite. Casey Cep, The New Yorker, 12 Sep. 2022 OxyChem used chrysotile, or white asbestos, the most common type. Kathleen Mcgrory, ProPublica, 22 Oct. 2022 However, according to internal documents, dozens of tests have found minerals such as tremolite, chrysotile, and actinolite—which, in certain forms, constitute asbestos—in the company’s talc. Casey Cep, The New Yorker, 12 Sep. 2022 In Lowell, Vermont, for instance, stands a pile of tailings hundreds of feet tall, from what was once the United States’ largest chrysotile asbestos mine. Eliza Griswold, The New Yorker, 26 Aug. 2022 The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday proposed to ban chrysotile asbestos, the most common form of the toxic mineral still used in the United States. Anna Phillips, Anchorage Daily News, 5 Apr. 2022 Most consumer products that historically contained chrysotile asbestos have been discontinued. CBS News, 5 Apr. 2022 Blue water now fills the Jeffrey Mine, where workers mined tons of chrysotile asbestos, providing crucial material for fire insulation, including equipment for soldiers of two world wars. Marie Fazio New York Times, Star Tribune, 21 Oct. 2020 The town was built up around the massive Jeffrey Mine, once the largest opencast chrysotile asbestos mine in the world. Washington Post, 20 Oct. 2020 See More

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

Word History


borrowed from German Chrysotil, from chryso- chryso- + Greek -til-, taken to mean "fiber," base of tíllein "to pluck, pick," of uncertain origin

Note: Term introduced by the German mineralogist Franz von Kobell (1803-82) in "Ueber den Spadaït, eine neue Mineralspecies, und über den Wollastonit von Capo di bove," Journal für praktische Chemie, Band 30 (1843), p. 469. Kobell cites chrysós "Gold" and tílos "Faser" ("fiber") as sources, but a noun tílos only exists in ancient Greek as a plural tíloi "the fine hair of the eyebrows."

First Known Use

1850, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of chrysotile was in 1850

Dictionary Entries Near chrysotile

Cite this Entry

“Chrysotile.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Mar. 2023.

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