macadam

noun
mac·​ad·​am | \mə-ˈka-dəm \

Definition of macadam 

: macadamized roadway or pavement especially with a bituminous binder

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Examples of macadam in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The macadam on Tenth Street comes out of the winter in wretched condition. Arthur Hart, idahostatesman, "A street paved with wood? Yes, Boise once had that.," 30 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'macadam.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of macadam

1824, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for macadam

John L. McAdam †1836 British engineer

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about macadam

Listen to Our Podcast about macadam

Statistics for macadam

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for macadam

The first known use of macadam was in 1824

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for macadam

macadam

noun

English Language Learners Definition of macadam

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

macadam

noun
mac·​ad·​am | \mə-ˈka-dəm \

Kids Definition of macadam

: a road surface made of small closely packed broken stone

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on macadam

Spanish Central: Translation of macadam

Nglish: Translation of macadam for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about macadam

Comments on macadam

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

WORD OF THE DAY

living or existing for a long time

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!