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 Despite the unknown, Jaynes put on a white hazmat suit, asked the family to leave the home and retrieved the body. Dallas News, "‘The deaths don’t stop’: How North Texas funeral homes adapted during COVID," 19 Mar. 2021 West Dakota cobbled together a flier featuring Naomi Campbell in a hazmat suit, protective goggles perched on her nose like designer shades. New York Times, "5 Notes From a Quiet Year: How Music Survived the Pandemic," 11 Mar. 2021 Nearly every passenger complied with the airport’s requirement to wear masks, and some went further, donning both a face shield and a mask, or, in one couple’s case, a full hazmat-style suit and respirator. Michael Williams, SFChronicle.com, "SFO remains quiet despite national holiday surge in airline travel," 29 Dec. 2020 One tank car leaked several thousand gallons of denatured alcohol, a substance similar to ethanol, before firefighters and BNSF hazmat specialists were able to enter the car and stop it, the San Bernardino County Fire Department said. Alex Wigglesworth, Los Angeles Times, "Railroad worker crushed to death between two trains in La Mirada, authorities say," 4 Mar. 2021 Winners were handed their awards from a hazmat suit-wearing presenter who arrived outside their front doors. Hanna Flanagan, PEOPLE.com, "Golden Globes Cohosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler Match in Black Mini Dresses as They Bring the Sass," 28 Feb. 2021 At the same time, Duluth police officers helped firefighters evacuate adjacent businesses, while hazmat technicians identified and secured a carbon dioxide leak that had been caused by the fire. Kevin Whaley, ajc, "Oily rags cited as cause of Duluth restaurant fire," 26 Feb. 2021 Adam, however, clings to his old habits, driving a convertible to the office in a hazmat suit and refusing to take the drug. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Humanity is in danger of becoming obsolete technology in LX 2048," 20 Dec. 2020 What is a serve is the hazmat jumpsuit Marlo wears for the sprinter. Chris Murphy, Vulture, "The Real Housewives of Atlanta Recap: Allow Me To ReintroDrewce Myself," 26 Jan. 2021

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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Statistics for hazmat

Last Updated

4 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Hazmat.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hazmat. Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

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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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