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

The leak produced a large vapor cloud in the air, and a Houston Fire Department hazmat crew was checking the air quality in the area overnight. Julian Gill, Houston Chronicle, "Chemical leak reported at a manufacturing facility in NW Houston," 18 June 2019 These were patients who most health care professionals wouldn’t touch without wearing gloves, even a hazmat suit. Carmen Dipippo, PEOPLE.com, "The True Story Behind the New AIDS Documentary 5B Will Warm Your Heart," 14 June 2019 In 2014, state and federal investigators wearing hazmat suits raided a body donation company in Phoenix called Biological Resource Center. Stephanie Innes, AZCentral.com, "Arizona is a hotbed for the cadaver industry, and potential donors have plenty of options," 10 June 2019 Technicians dressed in white hazmat suits, latex gloves, and surgical masks performed their own brand of death rituals. Carlo Gabuco, National Geographic, "Death rituals help restless spirits find peace in the Philippines," 9 Apr. 2019 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

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


Statistics for hazmat

Last Updated

25 Jun 2019

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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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What made you want to look up hazmat? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to take the place or position of

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