vol·​ca·​no | \ väl-ˈkā-(ˌ)nō How to pronounce volcano (audio) , vȯl-\
plural volcanoes or volcanos

Definition of volcano

1 : a vent in the crust of the earth or another planet or a moon from which usually molten or hot rock and steam issue also : a hill or mountain composed wholly or in part of the ejected material
2 : something of explosively violent potential

Illustration of volcano

Illustration of volcano

volcano 1: 1 cinder cone, 2 shield volcano, 3 stratovolcano

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Examples of volcano in a Sentence

The volcano last erupted 25 years ago. beset by prolonged heat and lingering racial tension, the city was like a seething volcano

Recent Examples on the Web

The destructive volcano also created something new: Pohoiki, a 1,000-foot-long black sand beach, which formed when hot lava flowing into the cold ocean exploded, leaving dark grains of sand in its wake, Civil Beat reports. Nicole Winfield, sacbee, "Volcano created new Hawaii beach in 2018. It’s already covered in plastic, experts say," 4 June 2019 The north shore, buffered by the protective coral reef that started to grow as the volcano eroded away, is tranquil. Katherine Cusumano, Condé Nast Traveler, "5 Best Beaches in Bermuda," 29 May 2019 That there was no plume reaching anywhere near the surface could be a reason that the volcano went undetected. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Where Did This Massive Underwater Volcano Come From?," 22 May 2019 Our final day would be our shortest, its sole real challenge crossing Kohala Mountain, the only of Hawaii’s five volcanoes that’s extinct. James Sturz, WSJ, "Hawaii’s Big Island By Bike: A Heart-Racing, Spectacularly Scenic Trip," 12 Feb. 2019 It was once believed that the crystals found in volcanic ashes were the tears of the volcano goddess, Pele. Zoe Ruffner, Vogue, "What’s Your Sign? Karen Elson on Her New Birthstone Perfume Bottle Tops," 18 Jan. 2019 This turned out to be anything but the case, as Ceres is covered in craters, ridges, and the remains of what appear to be ice volcanoes. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Ceres might have tilted over onto its side," 9 Oct. 2018 Floridians have tested their nerves with hurricanes in the past, but given a choice of a natural disaster is a volcano or earthquake more terrifying? David Whitley, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Will Central Florida learn Irma's lessons?," 1 June 2018 Kilauea is the world's most active volcano and has been in near-constant eruption since 1983. Peter Martinez, CBS News, "Explosive eruptions, "ballistic rocks" possible from Hawaii volcano," 9 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'volcano.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of volcano

1665, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for volcano

Italian or Spanish; Italian vulcano, from Spanish volcán, ultimately from Latin Volcanus Vulcan

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Statistics for volcano

Last Updated

8 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for volcano

The first known use of volcano was in 1665

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More Definitions for volcano



English Language Learners Definition of volcano

: a mountain with a hole in the top or side that sometimes sends out rocks, ash, lava, etc., in a sudden explosion (called an eruption)


vol·​ca·​no | \ väl-ˈkā-nō How to pronounce volcano (audio) , vȯl-\
plural volcanoes or volcanos

Kids Definition of volcano

1 : an opening in the earth's crust from which hot or melted rock and steam erupt
2 : a hill or mountain composed of material thrown out in a volcanic eruption

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Comments on volcano

What made you want to look up volcano? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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