9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[lah-vuh, lav-uh] /ˈlɑ və, ˈlæv ə/
the molten, fluid rock that issues from a volcano or volcanic vent.
the rock formed when this solidifies, occurring in many varieties differing greatly in structure and constitution.
Origin of lava
1740-50; < Italian, orig. Neapolitan dialect: avalanche < Latin lābēs a sliding down, falling, akin to lābī to slide
Can be confused
larva, lava.
lava, magma. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for lava
  • It is now only emitting lava, and no more water is running unto the volcano and turning the hot lava into ash.
  • The younger, dark basaltic andesite lava flows are clearly seen on the volcano's slopes.
  • Researchers have used a sophisticated imaging technique to watch lava move though an active volcano.
  • When a volcano erupts, a glowing sea of molten lava often flows down its sides, destroying everything in its path.
  • Dams were built to contain its lava where it usually settles in a high bowl near the snow-capped peak.
  • The more viscous lava is, the harder it is for gases within it to bubble out, so such lava has an explosive tendency.
  • The outer core heats the mantle's bottom rocks into buoyant putty, which rises toward the crust, as if in a lava lamp.
  • The deep basins under the oceans are carpeted with lava that spewed from submarine volcanoes and solidified.
  • When lava flows in channels, the exterior can cool and solidify while the interior is still hot and molten.
  • To get an underwater feel, he stacked lava rocks and planted succulents that mimic marine plants and creatures.
British Dictionary definitions for lava


magma emanating from volcanoes and other vents
any extrusive igneous rock formed by the cooling and solidification of molten lava
Word Origin
C18: from Italian (Neapolitan dialect), from Latin lavāre to wash
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
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Word Origin and History for lava

1750, from Italian (Neapolitan or Calabrian dialect) lava "torrent, stream," traditionally from Latin lavare "to wash" (see lave). Originally applied in Italian to flash flood rivulets after downpours, then to streams of molten rock from Vesuvius. Alternative etymology is from Latin labes "a fall," from labi "to fall." Lava lamp is attested from 1965, also lava light (reg. U.S., 1968, as Lava Lite).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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lava in Science
  1. Molten rock that flows from a volcano or from a crack in the Earth. Most lava flows at a rate of a few kilometers per hour, but rates as high as 60 km (37 mi) per hour have been observed. Lava that contains abundant iron- and magnesium-rich components usually erupts with temperatures between 1,000°C and 1,200°C (1,832deg;F and 2,192°F). Lava that contains abundant silica- and feldspar-rich components usually erupts with temperatures between 800°C and 1,000°C (1,472deg;F and 1,832°F). Compare magma.

  2. The igneous rock formed when this substance cools and hardens. Depending on its composition and the rate at which it cools, lava can be glassy, very finely grained, ropelike, or coarsely grained. When it cools underwater, it cools in pillow-shaped masses. See also aa, pahoehoe, pillow lava.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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lava in Culture

lava definition

A type of igneous rock that is formed when molten magma from a volcano hardens.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for lava


Related Terms

in a lather

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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lava in Technology

A language for VLSI that deals with "sticks", i.e. wires represented as lines with thickness.
["A Target Language for Silicon Compilers", R.J. Matthews et al, IEEE COMPCON, 1982, pp. 349-353].

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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