verb (used with object), vul·can·ized, vul·can·iz·ing.
  1. to treat (rubber) with sulfur and heat, thereby imparting strength, greater elasticity, durability, etc.
  2. to subject (a substance other than rubber) to some analogous process, as to harden it.
Also especially British, vul·can·ise.

Origin of vulcanize

First recorded in 1820–30; Vulcan + -ize
Related formsvul·can·iz·a·ble, adjectivevul·can·i·za·tion, nounvul·can·iz·er, nounnon·vul·can·ized, adjectiveself-vul·can·iz·ing, adjectivesem·i·vul·can·ized, adjectiveun·vul·can·ized, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for vulcanize

Historical Examples of vulcanize

British Dictionary definitions for vulcanize



verb (tr)
  1. to treat (rubber) with sulphur or sulphur compounds under heat and pressure to improve elasticity and strength or to produce a hard substance such as vulcanite
  2. to treat (substances other than rubber) by a similar process in order to improve their properties
Derived Formsvulcanizable or vulcanisable, adjectivevulcanization or vulcanisation, nounvulcanizer or vulcaniser, noun
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 vulcanize

1827, "to put into flames," from Vulcan (q.v.), name of the Roman god of fire, + -ize. As a treatment for rubber, first recorded 1846. Related: Vulcanized; vulcanizing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

vulcanize in Science


  1. To harden rubber by combining it with sulfur or other substances in the presence of heat and pressure. Vulcanization gives rubber strength, resistance, and elasticity.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.