la·​va ˈlä-və How to pronounce lava (audio) ˈla- How to pronounce lava (audio)
: molten rock that issues from a volcano or from a fissure in the surface of a planet (such as earth) or moon
also : such rock that has cooled and hardened
lavalike adjective

Examples of lava in a Sentence

a flow of molten lava
Recent Examples on the Web There's also a mesh screen included, as well as natural lava rocks, and the bronze finish meshes beautifully with almost any outdoor decor setup. Kelsey Chapman, ABC News, 10 Apr. 2024 That indicated the lava might be relatively fresh — the first hint that an undetected volcano might be lurking nearby. Jackie Wattles, CNN, 29 Mar. 2024 Images show smoke, lava flowing from the volcanic eruption in Iceland Contributing: Associated Press. USA TODAY, 18 Mar. 2024 In August 2022, lava filled a nearby valley during the Meradalir eruption, barely half a mile away. Maya Wei-Haas, Smithsonian Magazine, 21 Feb. 2024 With new land being created by frequent lava flows, Iceland is renowned for its sensational geology, landscapes, and natural phenomena. David Nikel, Forbes, 12 Feb. 2024 The landscapes are just as diverse—from Lanzarote’s lunar lava plains to the lush archipelago of Islas Cíes and the stunning rock formations in the Cabo de Gata-Níjar Nature Reserve (Europe’s only desert!). Siobhan Reid, Vogue, 27 Mar. 2024 Archeologists excavating Pompeii, a city that was buried under lava in 79 AD, found a house that was under construction when the disaster happened, according to Italy's Ministry of Culture. Caitlin O'Kane, CBS News, 25 Mar. 2024 Lava continues to flow from the fissure, and a lava front extends to the west and the south, now about 820 feet from Suðurstrandarvegur – the main road on the southern coast of the Reykjanes Peninsula. USA TODAY, 18 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'lava.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Italian, ultimately from Latin labes fall; akin to Latin labi to slide — more at sleep

First Known Use

1759, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of lava was in 1759

Dictionary Entries Near lava

Cite this Entry

“Lava.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


la·​va ˈläv-ə How to pronounce lava (audio) ˈlav- How to pronounce lava (audio)
: melted rock coming from a volcano
also : such rock that has cooled and hardened

More from Merriam-Webster on lava

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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