from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. Either of two incombustible, chemical-resistant, fibrous mineral forms of impure magnesium silicate, used for fireproofing, electrical insulation, building materials, brake linings, and chemical filters.
- adj. Of, made of, or containing one or the other of these two mineral forms.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. Any of several fibrous mineral forms of magnesium silicate, used for fireproofing, electrical insulation, building materials, brake linings, and chemical filters; the small fibres can cause cancer when lodged in the lungs.
- adj. Of, or relating to asbestos.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A fabulous stone, which, once set on fire, could not be quenched: a notion due to observation of the effect of cold water in heating quicklime.
- n. A supposed kind of flax, alleged to be incombustible.
- n. A fibrous variety of amphibole or hornblende, composed of separable filaments, with a silky luster; also, in popular use, a similar variety of serpentine called chrysotile.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a fibrous amphibole; used for making fireproof articles; inhaling fibers can cause asbestosis or lung cancer
Middle English asbestus, from Latin asbestos, mineral or gem, from Greek, mineral or gem, unslaked lime, from asbestos, unquenchable : a-, not; see a-1 + sbennunai, sbes-, to quench.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old French abeste, from Ancient Greek ἄσβεστος (asbestos, "unquenchable, inextinguishable"), from ἀ- (a-, "not") + σβέννυμι (sbennumi, "I quench, quell"). (Wiktionary)