- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈbɪt.jʊ.mɪn/, /ˈbɪt͡ʃ.ʊ.mɪn/
- (US) IPA(key): /bɪˈtumən/, /bɪˈtjumən/, /baɪˈtumən/
- Mineral pitch; a black, tarry substance, burning with a bright flame. 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.
- Synonym: Jew's pitch
- 2014 August 24, Jeff Howell, “Home improvements: gravel paths and cutting heating bills [print version: Cold comfort in technology, 23 August 2014, p. P5]”, in The Daily Telegraph (Property):
- You need to excavate and remove the topsoil, line the subsoil with a geotextile, then lay and compact hardcore. Follow this with a layer of compacted "hoggin" – compacted clay, gravel and sand. This is then sprayed with hot bitumen, and has a layer of pea shingle rolled into it.
- (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.
- (Canada) Canadian deposits of extremely heavy crude oil.
The latter element is the common suffix -men; the former is from Proto-Indo-European *gʷétu (“pitch”) via an Italic language in which *gʷ became b, e.g. Oscan or Umbrian . (The traditional derivation from Celtic is implausible as the related Celtic words—Old Irish beithe, Welsh bedw, and the Gaulish source of Spanish biezo—mean only ‘birch’, not ‘pitch’.)
Third declension neuter.
- → English: bitumen
- French: béton
- Italian: bitume
- Portuguese: betume
- Russian: би́тум m (bítum)
- Spanish: betún
- bitumen in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
- bitumen in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
- bitumen in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire Illustré Latin-Français, Hachette
- bitumen in Harry Thurston Peck, editor (1898) Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, New York: Harper & Brothers