vul·ca·nize | \ˈvəl-kə-ˌnīz \
vulcanized; vulcanizing

Definition of vulcanize 

transitive verb

: to subject to vulcanization

intransitive verb

: to undergo vulcanization

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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

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, "How the only successful Alcatraz prison break in history was torn from the pages of 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, "How the only successful Alcatraz prison break in history was torn from the pages of 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.

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

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The first known use of vulcanize was in 1845

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More Definitions for vulcanize


vul·ca·nize | \ˈvəl-kə-ˌnīz \
vulcanized; vulcanizing

Kids Definition of vulcanize

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

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