vul·​ca·​nize | \ˈvəl-kə-ˌnīz \
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

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about vulcanize

Listen to Our Podcast about vulcanize

Statistics for vulcanize

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for vulcanize

The first known use of vulcanize was in 1845

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on vulcanize

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with vulcanize

Spanish Central: Translation of vulcanize

Nglish: Translation of vulcanize for Spanish Speakers

Comments on vulcanize

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


a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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