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pahoehoe

[ pah-hoh-ey-hoh-ey, puh-hoh-ee-hoh-ee ]
/ pɑˈhoʊ eɪˌhoʊ eɪ, pəˈhoʊ iˌhoʊ i /
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noun
basaltic lava having a smooth or billowy surface.
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Which of the following words means “to make a crackling sound; crackle”?
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Compare aa.

Origin of pahoehoe

First recorded in 1855–60, pahoehoe is from the Hawaiian word pāhoehoe

Words nearby pahoehoe

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

How to use pahoehoe in a sentence

Scientific definitions for pahoehoe

pahoehoe
[ pə-hoihoi′ ]

A type of lava having a smooth, swirled surface. It is highly fluid and spreads out in shiny sheets. Compare aa.

Word History

The islands that make up Hawaii were born and bred from volcanoes that rose up over thousands of years from the sea floor. Volcanoes are such an important part of the Hawaiian landscape and environment that the people who originally settled Hawaii, the Polynesians, worshiped a special volcano goddess, Pele. Not surprisingly, two words have entered English from Hawaiian that are used by scientists in naming different kinds of lava flows. One, pahoehoe, refers to lava with a smooth, shiny, or swirled surface and comes from the Hawaiian verb hoe, “to paddle” (since paddles make swirls in the water). The other, aa, refers to lava having a rough surface and comes from the Hawaiian word meaning “to burn.”
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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