asbestos

or as·bes·tus

[as-bes-tuh s, az-]
See more synonyms for asbestos on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. Mineralogy. a fibrous mineral, either amphibole or chrysotile, formerly used for making incombustible or fireproof articles.
  2. a fabric woven from asbestos fibers, formerly used for theater curtains, firefighters' gloves, etc.
  3. Theater. a fireproof curtain.

Origin of asbestos

1350–1400; < Latin < Greek: literally, unquenched, equivalent to a- a-6 + sbestós (sbes- variant stem of sbennýnai to quench + -tos past participle suffix); replacing Middle English asbeston, albeston < Middle French < Latin
Related formsas·bes·tine [as-bes-tin, az-] /æsˈbɛs tɪn, æz-/, as·bes·tous, adjectiveas·bes·toid, as·bes·toi·dal, adjectivenon·as·bes·tine, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


Examples from the Web for asbestos

Contemporary Examples of asbestos

Historical Examples of asbestos

  • Then cover the vents with asbestos or a wet cloth as already described.

  • It is in operations such as this that the asbestos box will be found of great use.

    On Laboratory Arts

    Richard Threlfall

  • This liability to breakage is reduced, but not eliminated, by the asbestos annealing.

    On Laboratory Arts

    Richard Threlfall

  • A suitable bit of wood may be substituted for the asbestos on occasion.

    On Laboratory Arts

    Richard Threlfall

  • Cars are now being built of steel, and of combinations of metal with asbestos.

    Checking the Waste

    Mary Huston Gregory


British Dictionary definitions for asbestos

asbestos

noun
    1. any of the fibrous amphibole and serpentine minerals, esp chrysotile and tremolite, that are incombustible and resistant to chemicals. It was formerly widely used in the form of fabric or board as a heat-resistant structural material
    2. (as modifier)asbestos matting
Derived Formsasbestine, adjective

Word Origin for asbestos

C14 (originally applied to a mythical stone the heat of which could not be extinguished): via Latin from Greek: from asbestos inextinguishable, from a- 1 + sbennunai to extinguish
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

Word Origin and History for asbestos
n.

1650s, earlier albeston, abestus (c.1100), name of a fabulous stone, which, set afire, could not be extinguished; from Old French abeste, abestos, from Latin asbestos "quicklime" (which "burns" when cold water is poured on it), from Greek asbestos, literally "inextinguishable," from a- "not" (see a- (3)) + sbestos, verbal adjective from sbennynai "to quench," from PIE root *(s)gwes- "to quench, extinguish" (cf. Lithuanian gestu "to go out," Old Church Slavonic gaso, Hittite kishtari "is being put out").

The Greek word was used by Dioscorides as a noun meaning "quicklime." "Erroneously applied by Pliny to an incombustible fibre, which he believed to be vegetable, but which was really the amiantos of the Greeks" [OED]. Meaning "mineral capable of being woven into incombustible fabric" is from c.1600 in English; earlier this was called amiant (early 15c.), from Latin amiantus, from Greek amiantos, literally "undefiled" (so called because it showed no mark or stain when thrown into fire). Supposed in the Middle Ages to be salamanders' wool. Prester John, the Emperor of India, and Pope Alexander III were said to have had robes or tunics made of it.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

asbestos in Medicine

asbestos

[ăs-bĕstəs, ăz-]
n.
  1. Either of two incombustible, chemical-resistant, fibrous mineral forms of impure magnesium silicate, formerly used for fireproofing, electrical insulation, brake linings, and chemical filters but now banned because it causes pleural mesothelioma and asbestosis.
adj.
  1. Of, made of, or containing one or the other of these two mineral forms.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

asbestos in Science

asbestos

[ăs-bĕstəs]
  1. Any of several fibrous mineral forms of magnesium silicate. Asbestos is resistant to heat, flames, and chemical action. Some forms have been shown to cause lung diseases. For this reason, asbestos is no longer used to make insulation, fireproofing material, and brake linings.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.