• synonyms


See more synonyms for volcano on Thesaurus.com
noun, plural vol·ca·noes, vol·ca·nos.
  1. a vent in the earth's crust through which lava, steam, ashes, etc., are expelled, either continuously or at irregular intervals.
  2. a mountain or hill, usually having a cuplike crater at the summit, formed around such a vent from the ash and lava expelled through it.
Show More

Origin of volcano

1605–15; < Italian < Latin Volcānus, variant of Vulcānus Vulcan
Can be confusedcaldera fumarole geyser volcano
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for volcanoes

ridge, elevation, pile, peak, bluff, cliff, sierra, volcano, pyramid, height, eminence, alp, hump, precipice, glob, drift, dome, heap, mesa, stack

Examples from the Web for volcanoes

Contemporary Examples of volcanoes

Historical Examples of volcanoes

  • He saw her volcanoes, and the bright expanses that a gracious error has named seas.

    Howards End

    E. M. Forster

  • Far beyond the pyramid the volcanoes are seen in their lonely grandeur.

    Aztec Land

    Maturin M. Ballou

  • A very readable account of the phenomena of volcanoes and earthquakes.Nature.

  • Talking about Farquharson was second only to his delight in talking about volcanoes.

  • Such explosive eruptions are among the worst vices of volcanoes.

British Dictionary definitions for volcanoes


noun plural -noes or -nos
  1. an opening in the earth's crust from which molten lava, rock fragments, ashes, dust, and gases are ejected from below the earth's surface
  2. a mountain formed from volcanic material ejected from a vent in a central crater
Show More

Word Origin for volcano

C17: from Italian, from Latin Volcānus Vulcan 1, whose forges were believed to be responsible for volcanic rumblings
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

Word Origin and History for volcanoes



1610s, from Italian vulcano "burning mountain," from Latin Vulcanus "Vulcan," Roman god of fire, also "fire, flames, volcano" (see Vulcan). The name was first applied to Mt. Etna by the Romans, who believed it was the forge of Vulcan.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

volcanoes in Science


  1. An opening in the Earth's crust from which lava, ash, and hot gases flow or are ejected during an eruption.
  2. A usually cone-shaped mountain formed by the materials issuing from such an opening. Volcanoes are usually associated with plate boundaries but can also occur within the interior areas of a tectonic plate. Their shape is directly related to the type of magma that flows from them-the more viscous the magma, the steeper the sides of the volcano.♦ A volcano composed of gently sloping sheets of basaltic lava from successive volcanic eruptions is called a shield volcano. The lava flows associated with shield volcanos, such as Mauna Loa, on Hawaii, are very fluid.♦ A volcano composed of steep, alternating layers of lava and pyroclastic materials, including ash, is called a stratovolcano. Stratovolcanos are associated with relatively viscous lava and with explosive eruptions. They are the most common form of large continental volcanos. Mount Vesuvius, Mount Fuji, and Mount St. Helens are stratovolcanos. Also called composite volcano See more at hot spot island arc tectonic boundary volcanic arc.
Show More
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

volcanoes in Culture


A cone-shaped mountain or hill created by molten material that rises from the interior of the Earth to the surface.

Show More


Volcanoes tend to occur along the edges of tectonic plates.


Eruptions and lava flows associated with them can be very destructive. (See Mount Saint Helens and Mount Vesuvius.)
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.