tar·​mac | \ˈtär-ˌmak \

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

Also The team’s charter plane was damaged on Sunday afternoon while getting setup on the tarmac. Ryan Divish, The Seattle Times, "James Paxton returns to the Mariners, but still feeling the effects of influenza and pneumonia," 17 Sep. 2018 But the tarmac meeting fueled Republican complaints that Lynch had met with the husband of an investigation subject improperly, just days before the probe into her personal email server was completed with no charges filed. Alex Pappas, Fox News, "Stage set for bombshell IG report on Clinton email case: Who's in the crosshairs?," 13 June 2018 The tarmac at the airport in Palu, the only one in the area, cracked during the earthquake, limiting the strip to propeller aircraft that don’t need as much runway as jet planes. John Lyons, WSJ, "Survivors of Indonesian Quake and Tsunami Scrounge for Staples," 3 Oct. 2018 After missing his flight from Melbourne to Adelaide, Australia, on Thursday, a 57-year-old man took matters into his own hands by running out onto the tarmac and attempting to rip open the door of a nearby Jetstar plane. Megan Stein, PEOPLE.com, "Passenger Who Missed His Flight Runs Across Tarmac, Attempts to Break Down Door of Wrong Plane," 18 May 2018 Using a technique called crabbing, Wassink was able to land at a severe angle through Storm Callum so that the Boeing 757-200 nose was in the midst of the wind until just before touching down on the tarmac. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Watch a 757 Land Practically Sideways in Gale Force Winds," 19 Oct. 2018 Upon arrival on the tarmac, guests were greeted by mascots of the bride and groom, which (no shock here) have their own Instagram handles. Carrie Goldberg, Harper's BAZAAR, "Chiara Ferragni Wore Three Dior Haute Couture Looks For Her Epic Wedding in Italy," 2 Sep. 2018 It has been privately owned for 36 years and sitting on a tarmac in Roswell, New Mexico. Russell Contreras, chicagotribune.com, "Private jet once owned by Elvis Presley for sale — again," 18 June 2018 In the midst of the Clinton email probe, then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch privately met with former President Bill Clinton for roughly 30 minutes on a tarmac in Arizona. Laura Jarrett, CNN, "What to know about the IG report on the Clinton e-mail investigation," 14 June 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.

See More

First Known Use of tarmac


1919, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tarmac


from Tarmac, a trademark

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about tarmac

Dictionary Entries near tarmac








Statistics for tarmac

Last Updated

11 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tarmac

The first known use of tarmac was in 1919

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for tarmac



English Language Learners Definition of Tarmac

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on tarmac

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


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Add Diction

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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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