One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A variety of asbestos with fine silky fibres which can be woven.
- ‘For this reason, the builders must dig through the mountains where there is amianthus and other harmful substances.’
- ‘In seven of the measurements no amianthus fibres capable of reaching the lungs were detected.’
- ‘The ancients knew the art of spinning amianthus and weaving it into incombustible cloth in which the corpses of important people were burned.’
- ‘With the discovery of amianthus, we came up with the idea of setting up an amianthus cardboard industry in the city of Traipu in the state of Alagoas.’
Early 17th century: from Latin amiantus, from Greek amiantos ‘undefiled’ (i.e. purified of stains by fire, it being incombustible), from a- ‘not’ + miainein ‘defile’. The spelling was changed from the Latin on the pattern of plant names ending in -anthus, from Greek anthos ‘flower’.
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