- any of various natural substances, as asphalt, maltha, or gilsonite, consisting mainly of hydrocarbons.
- (formerly) an asphalt of Asia Minor used as cement and mortar.
Origin of bitumen
Examples from the Web for bitumen
A few years ago birds began dying after landing on these lakes and getting slathered in bitumen.Our Trip to The Climate War's Ground Zero
September 19, 2014
Many runways are asphaltic concrete—aggregate in a bitumen binder—which softens and melts under heat.Why Can’t America’s Newest Stealth Jet Land Like It’s Supposed To?
May 26, 2014
It looks like black sulphur (bitumen), and has a brimstone smell.
Sailors approaching the coast in a fog can recognize the Santa Barbara Channel by the smell of bitumen which floats on the water.
The nature of this bitumen is very different from that of coal.The Life of Thomas, Lord Cochrane, Tenth Earl of Dundonald, Vol. II
Thomas Lord Cochrane
Well, Nora, what is it that has brought you to Bitumen at this of all times?Elizabeth Hobart at Exeter Hall
Jean K. Baird
Sometimes the body, enveloped in the cloth, was covered with bitumen.
- any of various viscous or solid impure mixtures of hydrocarbons that occur naturally in asphalt, tar, mineral waxes, etc: used as a road surfacing and roofing material
- the constituents of coal that can be extracted by an organic solvent
- any liquid suitable for coating aggregates
- the bitumen
- Australian and NZ informalany road with a bitumen surface
- (capital) Australian informalthe road in the Northern Territory between Darwin and Alice Springs
- a transparent brown pigment or glaze made from asphalt
Word Origin and History for bitumen
mid-15c., from Latin bitumen "asphalt," probably, via Oscan or Umbrian, from Celtic *betu- "birch, birch resin" (cf. Gaulish betulla "birch," used by Pliny for the tree supposedly the source of bitumen).
- Any of various flammable mixtures of hydrocarbons and other substances found in asphalt and tar. Bitumens occur naturally or are produced from petroleum and coal.