Last edited 08 Mar 2021


The second edition of The Dictionary of Urbanism by Rob Cowan, published in 2020, suggests that tarmac can mean:

  • ‘A generic name for asphalt surfaces.’
  • ‘A patented type of road-surfacing material composed mainly of compacted tar and aggregate. The word is a shortening of tarmacadam, a word combining tar- with the name of the engineer and road-builder John McAdam (1756–1836), who invented a process for building roads with a smooth, hard surface (macadam).’

It suggests that macadam can refer to:

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