Definition of asbestos in English:

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Pronunciation: /azˈbɛstɒs/
Pronunciation: /asˈbɛstɒs/ Pronunciation: /azˈbɛstɒs/ Pronunciation: /azˈbɛstəs/


[mass noun]
1A highly heat-resistant fibrous silicate mineral that can be woven into fabrics, and is used in brake linings and in fire-resistant and insulating materials.
Example sentences
  • The inhalation of amphibole asbestos is now widely recognized as being highly dangerous to human health.
  • But his lungs lost the battle for health years ago when he worked with blue asbestos fibres, insulating for the telephone company.
  • One of the varieties is the dangerous blue asbestos, crocidolite.
1.1Fabric containing asbestos.
Example sentences
  • We eventually had to make special asbestos cloth covers for the footwell to stop the fried foot problem.
  • The floor is covered with thick black linoleum and the walls are acoustically treated with an asbestos compound.
  • However, the outside walls were never plastered and asbestos was the material used for the roof.

The asbestos minerals include chrysotile (white asbestos) and several kinds of amphibole, notably amosite (brown asbestos) and crocidolite (blue asbestos). The danger to health caused by breathing in highly carcinogenic asbestos particles has led to more stringent control of its use.



Pronunciation: /-tɪn/


Early 17th century, via Latin from Greek asbestos 'unquenchable' (applied by Dioscurides to quicklime), from a- 'not' + sbestos (from sbennumi 'quench').

  • In Greek asbestos meant ‘unquenchable’. In English it originally referred to a mythical stone that once set alight was impossible to extinguish. This was probably a distorted reference to what happens when cold water is poured on quicklime—it reacts with a lot of heat and fizzing. The word was revived in the 17th century to refer to the fibrous mineral used for making fireproof material.

Words that rhyme with asbestos


For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: as|bes¦tos

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