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[muh-kad-uh m] /məˈkæd əm/
a macadamized road or pavement.
the broken stone used in making such a road.
Origin of macadam
1815-25; named after J. L. McAdam (1756-1836), Scottish engineer who invented it Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for macadam
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • They are used as dust layers on earth, gravel and macadam surfaces.

  • macadam asked that he should at least be bound over to keep the peace.

    Ireland as It Is Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)
  • Utilitarianism was too much for it, and its stones fell to macadam.

  • They gained the macadam of the lane that led out from the park gate into the country.


    George Looms
  • Some wonderful records were made in these contests on the macadam.

    Coaching Days & Ways

    E. D. (Edward William Dirom) Cuming
  • These are paved with concrete block and the other streets with macadam.

    United States Steel Arundel Cotter
  • There was a heavy, jarring rumble over the macadam of the military road.

    Porto Rico Arthur D. Hall
  • The pond is filled up now with the macadam of a model farmyard.

    An Isle in the Water Katharine Tynan
  • It was not cemented, but its hard clay floor was almost as solid as macadam.

    The Confession Mary Roberts Rinehart
British Dictionary definitions for macadam


a road surface made of compressed layers of small broken stones, esp one that is bound together with tar or asphalt
Word Origin
C19: named after John McAdam (1756–1836), Scottish engineer, the inventor
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for macadam

1824, named for inventor, Scottish civil engineer John L. McAdam (1756-1836), who developed a method of levelling roads and paving them with gravel and outlined the process in his pamphlet "Remarks on the Present System of Road-Making" (1822). Originally, road material consisting of a solid mass of stones of nearly uniform size laid down in layers; he did not approve of the use of binding materials or rollers. The idea of mixing tar with the gravel began 1880s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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