Origin of asbestosMiddle English asbestus from Classical Latin asbestos from Gr, inextinguishable from a-, not + sbestos from sbennynai, to extinguish: first applied in Classical Greek and Classical Latin to unslaked lime or a mineral other than asbestos
- Any of six incombustible chemical-resistant silicate minerals, including one serpentine (chrysotile) and five amphiboles (amosite, crocidolite, and fibrous forms of actinolite, anthophyllite, and tremolite), that separate easily into long, thin, flexible fibers and that have been widely used commercially in products such as fireproofing, electrical insulation, building materials, brake linings, and chemical filters. Mining and use of asbestos has been restricted because inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause asbestosis and cancer.
- Fabric or material containing any of these mineral forms.
Origin of asbestosMiddle English asbestus a kind of mineral which could not be extinguished when it caught fire, perhaps also asbestos (whose fibers may have been made into wicks that would never be consumed when used in ever-burning oil lamps) from Medieval Latin from Latin asbestos a kind of mineral (exact meaning uncertain) from Greek quicklime from asbestos (tintanos) unquenchable (lime) from asbestos unquenchable ( quicklime being so called because it reacts vigorously with water to release heat that can ignite combustible substances ) a- not ; see a- 1. sbennunai sbes- to quench
- as·bes′tine as·bes′tic
- Of, or relating to asbestos.
Old French abeste, from Ancient Greek ἄσβεστος (asbestos, “unquenchable, inextinguishable”), from ἀ- (a-, “not”) + σβέννυμι (sbennumi, “I quench, quell”).