[ bahy-too-muh n, -tyoo-, bi-, bich-oo- ]
/ baɪˈtu mən, -ˈtyu-, bɪ-, ˈbɪtʃ ʊ- /


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

1425–75; late Middle English bithumen < Latin bitūmen


bi·tu·mi·noid [bahy-too-muh-noid, -tyoo-, bi-] /baɪˈtu məˌnɔɪd, -ˈtyu-, bɪ-/, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for bitumen

British Dictionary definitions for bitumen

/ (ˈbɪtjʊmɪn) /


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
  1. Australian and NZ informal any road with a bitumen surface
  2. (capital) Australian informal the road in the Northern Territory between Darwin and Alice Springs
a transparent brown pigment or glaze made from asphalt

Derived forms of bitumen

bituminous (bɪˈtjuːmɪnəs), adjective

Word Origin for bitumen

C15: from Latin bitūmen, perhaps of Celtic origin
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

Science definitions for bitumen

[ bĭ-tōōmən ]

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.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.