Bitumen Definition

bĭ-to͝omən, -tyo͝o-, bī-
Any of various flammable mixtures of hydrocarbons and other substances, occurring naturally or obtained by distillation from coal or petroleum, that are a component of asphalt and tar and are used for surfacing roads and for waterproofing.
American Heritage
Asphalt found in a natural state.
Webster's New World
Any of various black, combustible, solid to semisolid mixtures of hydrocarbons that are usually obtained from the distillation of petroleum, used to make roofing materials, sealants, paints, etc.
Webster's New World

Mineral pitch; a black, tarry substance, burning with a bright flame; Jew’s pitch. It occurs as an abundant natural product in many places, as on the shores of the Dead and Caspian Seas. It is used in cements, in the construction of pavements, et cetera.


By extension, any one of the natural hydrocarbons, including the hard, solid, brittle varieties called asphalt, the semisolid maltha and mineral tars, the oily petrolea, and even the light, volatile naphthas.


Other Word Forms of Bitumen


bitumens, bitumina

Origin of Bitumen

  • From Latin bitūmen, from Gaulish *bitu (compare Scottish Gaelic bìth ‘resin, gum’) and -ūmen from Latin ferūmen ‘cement, glue’.

    From Wiktionary

  • Middle English bithumen a mineral pitch from the Near East from Latin bitūmen perhaps of Celtic origin

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

Find Similar Words

Find similar words to bitumen using the buttons below.

Words Starting With

Words Ending With