Definition of lava in English:



  • [mass noun] Hot molten or semi-fluid rock erupted from a volcano or fissure, or solid rock resulting from cooling of this.

    ‘tablelands of lava’
    [count noun] ‘porphyritic lavas’
    • ‘Located at the southern tip of the Korean peninsula, Cheju has been shaped by volcanic lava.’
    • ‘Other variants include feldspar-pyroxene-phyric lava and, rarely, aphyric lava.’
    • ‘The tuffs are associated with subordinate sandstones and siltstones and minor lava.’
    • ‘Lightening crashed, thunder rolled, ash and molten lava spumed from the mountains.’
    • ‘Bombs are pieces of molten lava that are thrown out of the volcano.’
    • ‘From here, millions of years ago, volcanic eruptions spilled lava over the land.’
    • ‘This landslide material was then embayed by lava when the central caldera was flooded.’
    • ‘Back then, the hot ash, lava and ensuing mud flows killed more than a thousand people.’
    • ‘Near-continuous volcanism has been occurring for at least the past 30 million years and continues to produce a wide variety of alkaline lavas and other volcanic products.’
    • ‘The tuffs and lava were derived from a nearby andesitic volcanic centre.’
    • ‘By contrast, lavas emitted by Hawaiian volcanoes can flow for upwards of miles - they flow like rivers.’
    • ‘The sun was setting beyond dark cumulous clouds which took on the appearance of volcanoes edged with lava.’
    • ‘The volcanic pile built up above sea level so that lavas began to be erupted subaerially.’
    • ‘From deep crevices we could feel the heat where lava had not as yet cooled from the last flow.’
    • ‘For volcanic rocks which cool from molten lavas, this would seem to be a reasonable assumption.’
    • ‘In Tokaj-Hegyalja the soils are volcanic with a topsoil of decayed lava.’
    • ‘This can explain where the information came from that produces living organisms in hot lava coming from a volcano.’
    • ‘They include lavas and volcaniclastic rocks of basaltic and andesitic composition together with cogenetic gabbros, plagiogranites and granites.’
    • ‘Much of the town is in flames as lava from a volcano began falling down on Thursday.’
    • ‘Suppose that the mountain erupts, leaving lava around the countryside.’


Mid 18th century: from Italian ( Neapolitan dialect), denoting the lava stream from Vesuvius, but originally denoting a stream caused by sudden rain, from lavare to wash, from Latin.