macadam

noun mac·ad·am \ mə-ˈka-dəm \

Definition of macadam

: macadamized roadway or pavement especially with a bituminous binder

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John Loudon McAdam and macadam

In 1783, inventor John Loudon McAdam returned to his native Scotland after amassing a fortune in New York City. He became the road trustee for his district and quickly set his inventiveness to remedying the terrible condition of local roads. After numerous experiments, he created a new road surfacing material made of bits of stone that became compressed into a solid mass as traffic passed over them. His invention revolutionized road construction and transportation, and engineers and the public alike honored him by using his name (respelled macadam) as a generic term for the material or pavement made from it. He is further immortalized in the verb macadamize, which names the process of installing macadam on a road.

Origin and Etymology of macadam

John L. McAdam †1836 British engineer


MACADAM Defined for English Language Learners

macadam

noun

Definition of macadam for English Language Learners

  • : a road surface made with a dark material that contains small broken stones


MACADAM Defined for Kids

macadam

noun mac·ad·am \ mə-ˈka-dəm \

Definition of macadam for Students

: a road surface made of small closely packed broken stone

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