noun, often attributive
haz·​mat | \ˈhaz-ˌmat \

Definition of hazmat 

: a material (such as flammable or poisonous material) that would be a danger to life or to the environment if released without precautions

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Did You Know?

The origin of "hazmat" is clear enough - it was formed by combining the first three letters of each of two words: "hazardous" and "material." The word hazmat is fairly young, first appearing in print in 1980. Although it is a noun, "hazmat" tends to be used attributively, meaning that it often appears in sentences before another noun as if it were performing the duties of an adjective (as in "hazmat team" and "hazmat worker").

Examples of hazmat in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Neighbors described the chaotic scene as police, medical responders and hazmat crews swarmed around the house. Jared Gilmour, miamiherald, "Feces and cereal covered the home's floor. Kids were eating it, Michigan officials say | Miami Herald," 8 May 2018 Law enforcement officers and the county hazmat team were still at the Ruffin Road business park as of 5 p.m. Korte declined to release more information citing the ongoing investigation. Alex Riggins, sandiegouniontribune.com, "8 detained in DEA raids across county," 13 July 2018 Helicopter footage by a news crew showed about two dozen people standing outside one of the hospital’s buildings, with some dressed in hazmat suits. Fox News, "Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore evacuated due to possible TB exposure," 6 July 2018 But now more than 100 detectives from the counter-terrorism network are once again sealing off key areas, donning hazmat suits and trying to determine how the Novichok nerve agent has harmed people on British soil once again. Sabra Ayres, latimes.com, "U.K. official accuses Russia of dumping poison in Britain," 5 July 2018 Harford County officials requested some Abingdon residents to shelter in place Friday while a hazmat team worked to clean up a liquid spill inside of a house. Nicholas Bogel-burroughs, The Aegis, "Liquid spill in Harford County home brings hazmat crew, shelter in place warning," 22 June 2018 No longer were forensics experts in oversize hazmat suits combing the area for an invisible killer developed by the Soviet Union in Cold War times. Washington Post, "UK town faces new reality: Another nerve agent poisoning," 6 July 2018 The hazmat crew had entered the building and was trying to determine what caused so many to suffer breathing problems, nausea and possible loss of consciousness. CBS News, ""Mass hysteria" at e-cigarette plant, 20 hospitalized," 25 June 2018 The building was evacuated as the fire department and a hazmat team responded. Fox News, "Officials: Chlorine leak sparks hazmat response; 30 sickened," 25 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hazmat.' 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 hazmat

1972, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for hazmat

hazardous material

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hazy blue


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Time Traveler for hazmat

The first known use of hazmat was in 1972

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More Definitions for hazmat


noun, often attributive
haz·​mat | \ˈhaz-ˌmat\

Medical Definition of hazmat 

: a material (as radioactive, flammable, explosive, or poisonous material) that would be a danger to life or to the environment if released without necessary precautions being taken toxic waste hauled away by workers in hazmat suits— Tom Spousta hazmat storage

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