Definition of Tarmac in US English:



usually tarmac
trademark in UK
  • 1Material used for surfacing roads or other outdoor areas, consisting of crushed rock mixed with tar.

    • ‘A third alternative would be to surround the skateboard area with paving slabs and create access from the main tarmac path to the facility with minor repairs to the surface of the car park.’
    • ‘Many bridleways were closed for many months following the outbreak of the disease, and riders had to exercise their horses on private land where they were grazed, or hack out on tarmac roads.’
    • ‘A decision to replace a paving stone surface in historic Corsham town centre with tarmac in a road safety scheme may be reversed.’
    • ‘The surface of the road is made up of a surface layer of tarmac, approximately 4 to 6 inches thick followed by a concrete layer of approximately 12 or 13 inches.’
    • ‘You won't end up wondering what it must have been like 100 years ago because, apart from tarmac road and the other tourists, it's still exactly like it was.’
    1. 1.1the tarmac A runway or other area surfaced with tarmac.
      • ‘Instead of taking off, however, the plane and its passengers sat on the tarmac in a weather delay for four hours before returning to the terminal.’
      • ‘Waiting on the tarmac at Mehrabad Airport to board the flight that would take me south to Kerman, on the dusty edge of Baluchistan, I studied the plane.’
      • ‘Eyewitnesses reported that one of its wingtips hit the tarmac and the jet crashed through an airport fence and then exploded.’
      • ‘Five minutes down the tarmac and we take an open and contouring track south-east.’
      • ‘A healthy baby boy was delivered in the back of the helicopter on the tarmac at the Comoro Airfield.’


Early 20th century: abbreviation of tarmacadam.