General English

General Science

  • noun a mountain surrounding a hole in the Earth’s crust, formed of solidified molten rock sent up from the interior of the earth


  • noun a mountain with a hole on the top through which lava, ash and gas can exit

Origin & History of “volcano”

Volcanoes get their name from Vulcan, the Roman god of fire. His name in Latin was Volcānus, and it was the Italian descendant of this, volcano, that was originally adapted as a term for ‘fire-emitting mountain’. English borrowed the word from Italian. also commemorating Vulcan is the vulcanization (19th c.) of rubber. The term appears to have been coined around 1845 by a certain Mr Brockedon, a friend of the English chemist Thomas Hancock (1786–1865), an early pioneer of the process. Latin Volcānus itself may be related to Cretan Welkhanoc, which came from Hittite Valhannasses.