Definition of amianthus in English:



mass noun
  • 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The ancients knew the art of spinning amianthus and weaving it into incombustible cloth in which the corpses of important people were burned.’
    • ‘In seven of the measurements no amianthus fibres capable of reaching the lungs were detected.’


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’.