tar·​mac | \ ˈtär-ˌmak How to pronounce tarmac (audio) \

Definition of tarmac

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a tarmacadam road, apron, or runway



Definition of Tarmac (Entry 2 of 2)

used for a bituminous binder for roads

Examples of tarmac in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The craft's brawny presence on the tarmac has become such a nuisance that now the government is getting involved. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Nobody Wants to Claim This Abandoned Airplane at Madrid's Main Airport," 28 Jan. 2019 His wife, Karen, accompanied him down the stairs to the tarmac. Kate Morrissey, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Pence visits new border fence, blames open border advocates for caravan," 30 Apr. 2018 Police sirens wailing, Captain Renault and Christian race to the tarmac, followed by Rick’s customers, followed by Sam, pushing his piano. Joyce Wadler, New York Times, "When Rick Met Sally," 1 Feb. 2018 There weren’t many options as far as landings, but the ample levees in New Orleans proved a welcoming substitute for a tarmac. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "8 Emergency Landings That Rival the 'Miracle on the Hudson'," 15 Jan. 2019 The Beirut trips created extra costs because Nissan wouldn’t leave the plane on the tarmac there out of security concerns. Patricia Kowsmann, WSJ, "The Fall of the House of Ghosn," 16 Dec. 2018 When Obama visited Houston as president in 2014, Bush was there waiting for him on the tarmac to welcome him to town. Peter Baker, The Seattle Times, "Bush made Willie Horton an issue, and for African-Americans, the scars are still fresh," 3 Dec. 2018 The sartorial hack is often used for appearances on the tarmac or airports, where the environment is especially gusty. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kate Middleton Narrowly Avoided a Wardrobe Malfunction at Princess Eugenie's Wedding," 12 Oct. 2018 But think of it this way: In order for a plane to land, the tarmac must be clear. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What October's Sagittarius Horoscope Means for You," 30 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tarmac.' 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 tarmac


1919, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tarmac


from Tarmac, a trademark

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Statistics for tarmac

Last Updated

20 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for tarmac

The first known use of tarmac was in 1919

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English Language Learners Definition of Tarmac

used for a paving material made of layers of crushed stone covered with tar

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More from Merriam-Webster on tarmac

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tarmac

Spanish Central: Translation of tarmac

Nglish: Translation of tarmac for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tarmac for Arabic Speakers

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