Student Dictionary

2 entries found for volcano.
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Main Entry: vol·ca·no
Pronunciation: väl-primarystresskamacr-nomacr, vodotl-
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural -noes or -nos
Etymology: from Italian or Spanish; Italian vulcano "volcano," from Spanish vulcán, from Latin Volcanus, Vulcanus "Vulcan (Roman god of fire)"
: a vent in the earth's crust from which melted or hot rock and steam come out; also : a hill or mountain composed entirely or in part of the material thrown out
Word History The ancient Greeks and Romans had many gods and goddesses. Each of these deities was in charge of a special kind of work or an aspect of nature. Many of the happenings in nature were explained in myth as the actions of one or more of these gods or goddesses. The Roman god of fire was known as Vulcanus in Latin (Vulcan in English). He was thought to live inside Mount Etna, a volcano on the island of Sicily. Vulcan was a giant who worked as a blacksmith, forging the thunderbolts for Jupiter, king of the gods. The smoke and occasional fiery rocks and lava that came from Mount Etna were thought to be from Vulcan's forge. That is how his name came to be applied to a mountain that sometimes spews forth fire and smoke.

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