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[mass noun] A variety of asbestos with fine silky fibres which can be woven.
- ‘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.’
- ‘In seven of the measurements no amianthus fibres capable of reaching the lungs were detected.’
- ‘For this reason, the builders must dig through the mountains where there is amianthus and other harmful substances.’
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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