vul·​ca·​nize | \ ˈvəl-kə-ˌnīz How to pronounce vulcanize (audio) \
vulcanized; vulcanizing

Definition of vulcanize

transitive verb

: to subject to vulcanization

intransitive verb

: to undergo vulcanization

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from vulcanize

vulcanizer noun

Did you know?

Vulcanize sounds like something Spock from Star Trek might do, but the explanation behind this word has more to do with ancient mythology than it does with science fiction. Vulcanization involves heating rubber in combination with sulfur. The Roman god Vulcan (whose Greek counterpart is Hephaestus) was the god of fire and of skills that used fire, such as metalworking. So when Charles Goodyear discovered that high heat would result in stronger rubber, he called the process "vulcanization" after the god of fire. Goodyear stumbled upon the idea in 1839 and acquired a patent for it in 1844, but the words "vulcanize" and "vulcanization" didn't appear in print until 1845 and 1846 respectively.

Examples of vulcanize in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Lawlis is strikingly confident about the BAUD, comparing his breakthroughs to Charles Goodyear's discovery of vulcanized rubber. Gary Baum, The Hollywood Reporter, 27 Feb. 2020 The look’s latest champion, Demna Gvasalia of Balenciaga, introduced a phalanx of these human anomalies in his spring 2020 show, all chalky complexions and vulcanized lips and with prosthetics augmenting their otherwise sunken cheeks. New York Times, 29 Oct. 2019 Each pair is handcrafted out of natural rubber and vulcanized to ensure your feet stay dry. Kelsey Mulvey, Marie Claire, 18 Sep. 2019 Made with waterproof vulcanized rubber, this boot is doubled up on areas that often blow out in other boots. James Lynch, Popular Mechanics, 29 Mar. 2019 What did well were Nike x Off-White sneaker drops, Off-White vulcanized sneaker, Essentials, and the Moncler Genius drops—collaborations in general are still strong. Mark Holgate, Vogue, 18 Dec. 2018 Over several months, the four prisoners secreted rubber cement (many varieties of which include vulcanizing agents) from Alcatraz’s cobbling and glove-making shops, then spread it on the seams of the raincoats to join them into a raft. Jacqueline Detwiler, Popular Mechanics, 18 Jan. 2018 To people who think about vulcanizing at all—which is to say, almost nobody—this is a fairly boring process by which sulfur or other curatives create water-resistant links between rubber molecules. Jacqueline Detwiler, Popular Mechanics, 18 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'vulcanize.' 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 vulcanize

1845, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for vulcanize

International Scientific Vocabulary, from Latin Vulcanus Vulcan, fire

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About vulcanize

Time Traveler for vulcanize

Time Traveler

The first known use of vulcanize was in 1845

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About vulcanize

Dictionary Entries Near vulcanize



vulcanized fiber

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for vulcanize

Cite this Entry

“Vulcanize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for vulcanize


vul·​ca·​nize | \ ˈvəl-kə-ˌnīz How to pronounce vulcanize (audio) \
vulcanized; vulcanizing

Kids Definition of vulcanize

: to treat rubber with chemicals in order to give it more strength or flexibility

More from Merriam-Webster on vulcanize

Nglish: Translation of vulcanize for Spanish Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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