[ lah-vuh, lav-uh ]
/ ˈlɑ və, ˈlæv ə /


the molten, fluid rock that issues from a volcano or volcanic vent.
the rock formed when this solidifies, occurring in many varieties differing greatly in structure and constitution.


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Origin of lava

1740–50; < Italian, orig. Neapolitan dialect: avalanche < Latin lābēs a sliding down, falling, akin to lābī to slide


larva lavalava magma Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for lava

British Dictionary definitions for lava

/ (ˈlɑːvə) /


magma emanating from volcanoes and other vents
any extrusive igneous rock formed by the cooling and solidification of molten lava

Word Origin for lava

C18: from Italian (Neapolitan dialect), from Latin lavāre to wash
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Scientific definitions for lava

[ lävə ]

Molten rock that flows from a volcano or from a crack in the Earth. Most lava flows at a rate of a few kilometers per hour, but rates as high as 60 km (37 mi) per hour have been observed. Lava that contains abundant iron- and magnesium-rich components usually erupts with temperatures between 1,000°C and 1,200°C (1,832deg;F and 2,192°F). Lava that contains abundant silica- and feldspar-rich components usually erupts with temperatures between 800°C and 1,000°C (1,472deg;F and 1,832°F). Compare magma.
The igneous rock formed when this substance cools and hardens. Depending on its composition and the rate at which it cools, lava can be glassy, very finely grained, ropelike, or coarsely grained. When it cools underwater, it cools in pillow-shaped masses. See also aa pahoehoe pillow lava.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for lava


A type of igneous rock that is formed when molten magma from a volcano hardens.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.