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

Keep scrolling for more

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 Hawaii County is tops in volcano risk and Honolulu County for tsunamis, Dallas for hail, Philadelphia for heat waves and California's Riverside County for wildfires. Seth Borenstein, ajc, "Watch out LA: Feds calculate riskiest, safest places in US," 2 Jan. 2021 Hawaii County is tops in volcano risk and Honolulu County for tsunamis, Dallas for hail, Philadelphia for heat waves and California’s Riverside County for wildfires. Seth Borenstein, Anchorage Daily News, "Feds calculate risk index for natural disasters over all US counties," 2 Jan. 2021 Kötlujökull glacier sits atop the Katla volcano, where a type of volcanic rock called basalt is abundant. Kate Baggaley, Popular Science, "Glacier-dwelling bacteria thrive on chemical energy derived from rocks and water," 30 Dec. 2020 Mirage's casino, restaurants, spa and signature volcano attraction will be closed from Monday at noon through Thursday at noon into February. Dawn Gilbertson, USA TODAY, "Planning a trip to Las Vegas? Make sure your favorite hotel is open.," 25 Dec. 2020 Finally, on Sunday night, the observatory detected a glow in the Halema‘uma‘u crater at the volcano's summit. Rasha Aridi, Smithsonian Magazine, "Hawai’i’s Kīlauea Volcano Returns Dramatically With First Eruption in Two Years," 24 Dec. 2020 The eruption began late Sunday within the volcano's caldera, the U.S. Geological Survey said. Fox News, "Volcano erupts on Hawaii's Big Island, draws crowds to park," 23 Dec. 2020 The 2018 eruption occurred along a rift zone on the volcano’s flank where many residential neighborhoods had been developed. chicagotribune.com, "Kilauea volcano erupts on Hawaii’s Big Island, produces steam cloud," 21 Dec. 2020 Scientists said the water likely meant the volcano was entering a new stage of volcanic activity after about 200 years of slower, less volatile lava flows. Tyler Van Dyke, Washington Examiner, "Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano erupts, prompting warnings to stay indoors," 21 Dec. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about volcano

Time Traveler for volcano

Time Traveler

The first known use of volcano was in 1665

See more words from the same year

Statistics for volcano

Last Updated

13 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Volcano.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/volcano. Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for volcano


How to pronounce volcano (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words of Snow and Ice Quiz

  • image1037863653
  • Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!