haz·​mat ˈhaz-ˌmat How to pronounce hazmat (audio)
often attributive
: a material (such as flammable or poisonous material) that would be a danger to life or to the environment if released without precautions

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 On Thursday afternoon, crews dressed in white hazmat suits with respirators walked streets near the hangar collecting debris in trash bags. Hannah Fry, Los Angeles Times, 19 Nov. 2023 For that reveal, Jordan stood onstage in a full, yellow hazmat suit and answered fan questions about his identity using a voice changer. Lindsay Kimble, Peoplemag, 6 Nov. 2023 These whiskeys are strong but never hazmat proof, and most taste even better after adding a few drops of water or a large ice cube. Jonah Flicker, Robb Report, 22 Oct. 2023 Officers in hazmat suits were soon removing drug paraphernalia from a work shed — Pyrex coffee pots, hot plates, batteries, glass tubing — and laying it on the driveway to photograph. Photographs Todd Heisler, New York Times, 15 Oct. 2023 By the same token, trapping a bunch of sweat underneath a hazmat suit could leave you susceptible to heat illnesses. WIRED, 30 Sep. 2023 Men in white hazmat suits pour lime over the brown soil to seal the graves. Sarah Sirgany, CNN, 18 Sep. 2023 Masks and even hazmat suits will likely be a common sight once cleanup commences, Poentis said. Julia Jacobo, ABC News, 8 Sep. 2023 Perhaps the epic tale of the Diarrhea Plane will convince the administration to recommend a hazmat suit or two. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, 7 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hazmat.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


hazardous material

First Known Use

1972, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of hazmat was in 1972


Dictionary Entries Near hazmat

Cite this Entry

“Hazmat.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hazmat. Accessed 2 Dec. 2023.

Medical Definition


often attributive
: 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 suitsTom Spousta
hazmat storage
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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