Definition for AS-BES'TUS, or AS-BES'TOS

AS-BES'TUS, or AS-BES'TOS, n. [Gr. ασβεστος, inextinguishable; of α neg. and σβυννυμι, to extinguish.]

A mineral which has frequently the appearance of a vegetable substance. It is always fibrous, and its fibers sometimes appear to be prismatic crystals. They are sometimes delicate, flexible, and elastic; at other times, stiff and brittle. Its powder is soft to the touch; its colors are some shade of white, gray or green, passing into brown, red or black. It is incombustible, and has been wrought into a soft, flexible cloth, which was formerly used as a shroud for dead bodies. It has been also manufactured into incombustible paper, and wicks for lamps. – Kirwan. Encyc. Cleaveland. Ligniform asbestus is a variety of a brown color, of a splintery fracture, and if broken across, presents an irregular filamentous structure, like wood. – Kirwan.

Return to page 186 of the letter “A”.