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

  • n. A black, viscous natural bitumen.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. thick mineral pitch
  • n. mineral tar

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A variety of bitumen, viscid and tenacious, like pitch, unctuous to the touch, and exhaling a bituminous odor.
  • n. Mortar.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A bituminous substance midway in consistency between asphaltum and petroleum.
  • n. Haeckel's term for the gelatinous ground-substance or mesoglcea and contained cells of various kinds, which forms the skeletogenous layer in sponges.

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

  • n. a thick black tar intermediate between petroleum and asphalt


Middle English malthe, from Latin maltha, from Greek, a mixture of wax and pitch; see mel-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Ancient Greek μάλθα (máltha) (Wiktionary)



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