vol·​ca·​no | \väl-ˈkā-(ˌ)nō, 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

Scientists had thought the steam explosions resulted from lava at the summit dropping down the volcano's throat into groundwater. Terray Sylvester And Jolyn Rosa, The Christian Science Monitor, "Scientists brave dangers studying active Hawaii volcano," 11 July 2018 Estuardo Hernandez, 19, was talking by phone to his father, Margarito Hernandez, when millions of tons of ash tore through the village of San Miguel Los Lotes on the volcano's slope. Sonia Perez D., chicagotribune.com, "Grim task as forensic experts ID Guatemala volcano victims; death toll hits 110," 8 June 2018 An additional 24 bodies were recovered Wednesday, according to Guatemala’s National Forensic Sciences Institute, bringing the death toll to 99 killed since the volcano's first eruption on Sunday. NBC News, "Guatemala volcano survivor searches for 46 missing family members," 7 June 2018 About 80 of those were destroyed in the Leilani Estates community, where lava-spouting fissures in the ground first opened on May 3 downhill from the volcano's eastern flank. Author: Terray Sylvester, Anchorage Daily News, "River of lava destroys scores more homes on Hawaii’s Big Island and fills in a bay," 6 June 2018 Most of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has been closed since May 11 because of earthquakes and continuous explosions from the volcano's summit crater. CBS News, "Hawaii volcano lava destroys more homes, including Big Island mayor's," 5 June 2018 Photos and videos taken by those on the ground show ash covering people and huge plumes rolling down the volcano's side. Sarah Gibbens, National Geographic, "Why Guatemala's Volcano Is Deadlier Than Hawaii's," 4 June 2018 On April 30, the floor of the Puu Oo Crater, on the volcano's East Rift Zone, collapsed, sending its pool of lava back underground. Amy B Wang, ajc, "Lava spatter hits Hawaii man and shatters his leg in first known injury from Kilauea volcano," 20 May 2018 More than 20 fissures have opened since the volcano's latest activity began May 3 and are being tracked. Chris Woodyard, USA TODAY, "Hawaii volcano poses a new threat: Acid from Kilauea's lava, called 'laze,' pouring into the ocean," 20 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

9 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for volcano

The first known use of volcano was in 1665

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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, 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).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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