mid-15c., from Latin bitumen "asphalt," most likely, via Oscan or Umbrian, from Celtic *betu- "birch, birch resin" (compare Gaulish betulla "birch," employed by Pliny when it comes to tree supposedly the foundation of bitumen).
any one of various naturally occurring impure mixtures of hydrocarbons
- Mineral pitch; a black, tarry material, burning up with a bright fire; Jew's pitch. It takes place as an enormous natural product in many places, as on shores of the Dead and Caspian Seas. It's utilized in cements, into the building of sidewalks, etc. See Asphalt.
- By expansion, anyone for the natural hydrocarbons, such as the tough, solid, brittle varieties called asphalt, the semisolid maltha and mineral tars, the greasy petroleums, and even the light, volatile naphthas.
(n.) By expansion, anybody of the normal hydrocarbons, such as the difficult, solid, brittle types called asphalt, the semisolid maltha and mineral tars, the greasy petroleums, and also the light, volatile naphthas.
There are medicinal springs in the town, and deposits of liquid bitumen in the neighbouring hills.