Definition of volcano in US English:



  • 1A mountain or hill, typically conical, having a crater or vent through which lava, rock fragments, hot vapor, and gas are being or have been erupted from the earth's crust.

    • ‘Some of the salt in the oceans comes from undersea volcanoes and hydrothermal vents.’
    • ‘Scientists have used robotic vehicles on Earth to explore active volcanoes and the ocean floors.’
    • ‘Variations in composition within each series reflect differentiation in magma chambers under volcanoes.’
    • ‘The presence of faults within the edifice of the volcano may influence the transport and degassing of the magma.’
    • ‘Visually, the city keeps you enthralled, with its setting atop a series of extinct volcanoes and rocky crags.’
    • ‘It looked a pleasant enough place from the ship even if, according to the guide books, it was built in the crater of an extinct volcano.’
    • ‘The two that are most often in the news are shield volcanoes, as seen in Hawaii, and composite volcanoes.’
    • ‘The temperature of the lava, about 1,500 kelvins, is similar to that of the hottest volcanoes on Earth.’
    • ‘This kind of event occurs on all the Canary Islands and other oceanic shield volcanoes.’
    • ‘Our understanding of how volcanoes degas has taken major steps forward in the past 20 years.’
    • ‘Shield volcanoes tend to erupt non-explosively, mainly pouring out huge volumes of fluid lava.’
    • ‘It has rainforests, snowpeaked mountains, volcanoes, tropical beaches and lush green pasture land.’
    • ‘This heated layer is the source of lava we see in volcanos, the source of heat that drives hot springs and geysers, and the source of raw material which pushes up the mid-oceanic ridges and forms new ocean floor.’
    • ‘This area had not been affected by the main pyroclastic flows from the volcano.’
    • ‘They fled their homes with a few personal belongings, escaping the acrid sulphuric fumes and lava of an erupting volcano.’
    • ‘They may be caused by a complex system of faults or by changes in the volcano's magma plumbing system.’
    • ‘A primary conclusion from our work is that magmas beneath volcanoes such as Nevado del Ruiz release significant gas during periods of quiescence.’
    • ‘The landscape ranges from volcanoes and Afro-alpine mountains to savanna and lowland rain forest.’
    • ‘In geology, students learn about the structure of the Earth, volcanoes and the formation and recycling of rocks.’
    • ‘This structure resembles volcanoes on Earth and Venus, with overlapping layers of material from a series of flows.’
    1. 1.1 An intense suppressed emotion or situation liable to burst out suddenly.
      ‘what volcano of emotion must have been boiling inside that youngster’
      • ‘What they did not bargain for was that the war would awaken a volcano of sectarian resentment.’
      • ‘Though one realises with a pang, that these smiles contained in themselves a volcano of torment and angst.’
      • ‘When I finally reached the second stage of anger it exploded like a volcano of hate inside me.’
      • ‘Instead, you ran rivers of blood in our land, and we blew a volcano of anger in your land.’


Early 17th century: from Italian, from Latin Volcanus ‘Vulcan’.