or as·bes·tus

[ as-bes-tuh s, az- ]
/ æsˈbɛs təs, æz- /


Mineralogy. a fibrous mineral, either amphibole or chrysotile, formerly used for making incombustible or fireproof articles.
a fabric woven from asbestos fibers, formerly used for theater curtains, firefighters' gloves, etc.
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


as·bes·tine [as-bes-tin, az-] /æsˈbɛs tɪn, æz-/, as·bes·tous, adjectiveas·bes·toid, as·bes·toi·dal, adjectivenon·as·bes·tine, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Examples from the Web for asbestos

British Dictionary definitions for asbestos

/ (æsˈbɛstɒs, -təs) /


  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 forms of asbestos

asbestine, 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

Medical definitions for asbestos

[ ăs-bĕstəs, ăz- ]


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.


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.

Scientific definitions for asbestos

[ ăs-bĕstəs ]

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.