Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of various flammable mixtures of hydrocarbons and other substances, occurring naturally or obtained by distillation from coal or petroleum, that are a component of asphalt and tar and are used for surfacing roads and for waterproofing.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Mineral pitch; a black, tarry substance, burning with a bright flame; Jew’s pitch. It occurs as an abundant natural product in many places, as on the shores of the Dead and Caspian Seas. It is used in cements, in the construction of pavements, et cetera.
  • n. By extension, any one of the natural hydrocarbons, including the hard, solid, brittle varieties called asphalt, the semisolid maltha and mineral tars, the oily petrolea, and even the light, volatile naphthas.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Mineral pitch; a black, tarry substance, burning with a bright flame; Jew's pitch. It occurs as an abundant natural product in many places, as on the shores of the Dead and Caspian Seas. It is used in cements, in the construction of pavements, etc. See asphalt.
  • n. By extension, any one of the natural hydrocarbons, including the hard, solid, brittle varieties called asphalt, the semisolid maltha and mineral tars, the oily petroleums, and even the light, volatile naphthas.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The name given by Latin writers, especially by Pliny, to various forms of hydrocarbons now included under the names of asphaltum, maltha, and petroleum (see these words).

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. any of various naturally occurring impure mixtures of hydrocarbons

Etymologies

Middle English bithumen, a mineral pitch from the Near East, from Latin bitūmen, perhaps of Celtic origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin bitūmen, from Gaulish *bitu (compare Scottish Gaelic bìth ‘resin, gum’) and -ūmen from Latin ferūmen ‘cement, glue’. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • But after reading up on the Keystone XL pipeline and its proposed cargo -- a thick, tarry form of oil called bitumen, which is diluted with other petroleum byproducts and pumped at higher pressures and temperatures than conventional crude -- Kelso said she and her family became nervous and backed away.

    Landowners Challenge TransCanada's Keystone Pipeline

  • Thinking further, friction under millions of car tyres might be transferable if the technology goes in that direction, since bitumen is also a piezzo generating fabric or it could easily be enhanced with ingrediants that are more so, like recycled plastic kibble. come to think of it. recycled plastic kibble could be used as concrete aggregate and then you could generate piezzo electrics from lift shafts, supermarket shopping malls, freeways, footpaths, etc.

    ALTERNATIVE ENERGY: Rain Power | Inhabitat

  • In what you might call a giant washing machine, agitation and heat begin to separate the bitumen from the sand.

    Technology in the Oil Industry: What's Now and What's Next?

  • At the Athabasca Oil Sands Project, where bitumen is surface-mined, the ore is broken up and mixed with warm water to form a slurry.

    Technology in the Oil Industry: What's Now and What's Next?

  • These aren't your average oil fields: They harbor not oil, but a viscous substance called bitumen, which is converted into synthetic crude, and eventually gasoline, through a water - and energy-intensive process.

    High Country News - Most Recent

  • Transforming the tar, more properly known as bitumen, which is mixed with sand, into petroleum is energy intensive and creates significant carbon emissions.

    Trade Observatory

  • They include tar sands (a mixture of sand or clay and a viscous, black, sticky petroleum deposit called bitumen), oil shale (a sedimentary rock containing kerogen, a precursor to petroleum) and synthetic liquid fuels made from coal or gas.

    New Scientist - Online News

  • fi rst to discover the various antidotes, one of earth and roasted copper (at 4 drachms each); which is even known by his name bitumen and castoreum (the secretion of beaver); 150 drachms of honey and 80 drachms of vetch So effective was Mithridates 'formulation that he meal.

    Recently Uploaded Slideshows

  • That tar, which is formally known as bitumen, is later separated and processed to produce oil, "the Times explains.

    A Vioxx Settlement

  • Tar sands can be mined and processed to extract the oil-rich bitumen, which is then refined into oil.

    Web/Tech

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