noun, often attributive
haz·​mat | \ ˈhaz-ˌmat How to pronounce hazmat (audio) \

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

Along with years of research and on-mountain testing to ensure the usefulness of Futurelight, The North Face turned to Underwriter Labs, an independent research agency with 120 years of history testing fire and hazmat suits, to test the fabric. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, "The North Face's New Fabric Is Waterproof, Breathable, and Brought to You by Science," 8 Jan. 2019 On the Fall 2018 runway, Simons and Mulier offered hazmat suits, fireman coats, prairie dresses, and pastel tailoring. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "A Brief History of Raf Simons’s Storied Career in Fashion," 22 Dec. 2018 But no hazmat readings were found in the building, the department tweeted. BostonGlobe.com, "New England news in brief," 28 June 2018 Last year, Aldinga Beach near Adelaide, Australia, was evacuated in a hazmat event when palytoxin was released from a nearby coral formation. Matthew Martinez, star-telegram, "Airborne poison left Texas family feeling 'like death.' It came from the fish tank | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 28 Apr. 2018 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

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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Dictionary Entries near hazmat






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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likely to have or produce good results

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