Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Molten rock that reaches the earth's surface through a volcano or fissure.
  • n. The rock formed by the cooling and solidifying of molten rock.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The melted rock ejected by a volcano from its crater or fissured sides.
  • n. Magma.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The melted rock ejected by a volcano from its top or fissured sides. It flows out in streams sometimes miles in length. It also issues from fissures in the earth's surface, and forms beds covering many square miles, as in the Northwestern United States.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Molten rock which issues from a volcano during an eruption; the same when cooled and hardened.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. rock that in its molten form (as magma) issues from volcanos; lava is what magma is called when it reaches the surface

Etymologies

Italian, perhaps from Latin lābēs, fall, from Latin lābī, to fall.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Italian lava ("lava"), originally, in Naples, a torrent of rain overflowing the streets, from lavare ("to wash"). See etymology for the English verb lave. (Wiktionary)

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