Definition of asbestos in English:



  • 1[mass noun] A highly heat-resistant fibrous silicate mineral that can be woven into fabrics, and is used in brake linings and in fire-resistant and insulating materials.

    • ‘One of the varieties is the dangerous blue asbestos, crocidolite.’
    • ‘Like many projects of this type, we had to deal with removal of asbestos and lead paint.’
    • ‘But his lungs lost the battle for health years ago when he worked with blue asbestos fibres, insulating for the telephone company.’
    • ‘The focus of the ad was to inform the public that chrysotile asbestos does not cause cancer.’
    • ‘The notice prevented further work in the affected part of the hangar until asbestos debris or loose asbestos had been removed.’
    • ‘Firefighters learned there was asbestos in wall panels in the blazing block shortly after arriving.’
    • ‘The point is, exposure to asbestos, dust and fibre on its own can cause lung cancer.’
    • ‘Several Asian countries still use brown asbestos, and almost all of them still use white asbestos.’
    • ‘When these buildings begin to deteriorate, asbestos fibres may be released.’
    • ‘The asbestos fibres got stuck in the hand-knitted socks and jumpers.’
    • ‘The inhalation of amphibole asbestos is now widely recognized as being highly dangerous to human health.’
    • ‘Several powders or dry colours use a base of asbestos, chalk powder or silica.’
    • ‘For many years asbestos was considered a safe material ideal for fire prevention and insulation.’
    • ‘The company had told the workers the building was free of asbestos.’
    • ‘Most of the raw asbestos goes into the manufacture of brake linings in Melbourne.’
    • ‘The most commonly used type of asbestos, accounting for 95% of all commercial usage, is chrysotile, also called white asbestos.’
    • ‘Up until the late 1980s, carcinogenic asbestos was used in building houses.’
    • ‘I have now heard that there is asbestos in this building so it would cost a lot of money to sort the problem out.’
    • ‘The asbestos would be mixed with a soapy material and be subjected to a high temperature.’
    • ‘Asbestos becomes a health hazard if it releases asbestos fibres into the air.’
    1. 1.1Fabric containing asbestos.
      • ‘She remembered how there were pipes in a basement ward lagged with what appeared to be asbestos insulation.’
      • ‘The floor is covered with thick black linoleum and the walls are acoustically treated with an asbestos compound.’
      • ‘However, the outside walls were never plastered and asbestos was the material used for the roof.’
      • ‘The council is also pressing for safeguards to ensure no toxic materials such as asbestos are processed on the site.’
      • ‘We eventually had to make special asbestos cloth covers for the footwell to stop the fried foot problem.’


Early 17th century, via Latin from Greek asbestos unquenchable (applied by Dioscurides to quicklime), from a- not + sbestos (from sbennumi quench).