la·​va ˈlä-və How to pronounce lava (audio) ˈla- How to pronounce lava (audio)
: molten rock that issues from a volcano or from a fissure in the surface of a planet (such as earth) or moon
also : such rock that has cooled and hardened
lavalike adjective

Examples of lava in a Sentence

a flow of molten lava
Recent Examples on the Web At the time, landscape-spanning lava flows regularly gurgled and hissed across the area, releasing enough carbon dioxide to warm the Earth’s atmosphere. Ross Andersen, The Atlantic, 14 Sep. 2023 Kilauea erupted for several weeks in June, displaying fountains of red lava without threatening any communities or structures. Robert Higgs, cleveland, 11 Sep. 2023 Darryl Oliveira, former fire chief and civil defense director for the Big Island, is respected across the state for his management expertise in disasters including hurricanes and lava flows. Rebecca Boone, Beatrice Dupuy, USA TODAY, 27 Aug. 2023 The 850-square-foot lofty bures (wood-and-straw huts) come with outdoor lava rock showers, air conditioning, spacious sun decks, hot tubs, and king-size sun beds. Patricia Doherty, Travel + Leisure, 22 Aug. 2023 Taylor had always feared some kind of a slip, that moment when gravity and geometry align and the hero lands not on a stone but in the lava. Nate Atkins, The Indianapolis Star, 21 Aug. 2023 The eruptions have helped create islands through ash and fresh lava flows, but have also destroyed islands. Laura Baisas, Popular Science, 18 July 2023 Video showed lava spewing from fissures at the crater’s base, but the activity was confined to the crater. Melissa Alonso, CNN, 11 Sep. 2023 In September 2021, the Cumbre Vieja volcano erupted on the neighboring island of La Palma, spewing ash and lava for nearly three months, displacing thousands, and causing over €840 million ($899 million) in damage. Colette Davidson, The Christian Science Monitor, 8 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'lava.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Italian, ultimately from Latin labes fall; akin to Latin labi to slide — more at sleep

First Known Use

1759, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of lava was in 1759

Dictionary Entries Near lava

Cite this Entry

“Lava.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


la·​va ˈläv-ə How to pronounce lava (audio) ˈlav- How to pronounce lava (audio)
: melted rock coming from a volcano
also : such rock that has cooled and hardened

More from Merriam-Webster on lava

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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