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Word Origins: VOLCANO
Saturdays are great days for surprises. Our surprise today involved an etymological exploration of volcano and its derivations.
volcano (noun) - a vent in the crust of a planet or moon that allows hot lava, volcanic ash, and gases to escape from below the surface; a mountain, usually cone-shaped, formed by the materials issuing or that issued from such a vent
volcanic (adj) - explosive, similar to or produced by a volcano
volcanism (noun) - volcanic activity or phenomena (also vulcanism or volcanicity)
volcanology (noun) - the study of volcanoes (also vulcanology)
vulcanize (verb) - to submit rubber or a similar pliable material to a process that hardens it; to submit to tremendous heat (also volcanize)
The word volcano is derived from the name of Vulcano, a volcanic island in the Aeolian Islands of Italy whose name in turn comes from Vulcan, the Roman god of fire and the forge, smithing and metal working. Vulcan’s Greek equivalent is Hephaestus.
Charles Goodyear’s discovery of the vulcanization of rubber—a process that allows rubber to withstand heat and cold—revolutionized the rubber industry in the mid-1800s. Automotive tires, pencil erasers, life jackets, balls, gloves, and more are all in commercial use because of Goodyear’s relentless experimentation to unlock the molecular structure of rubber—and to solve what has been called the greatest industrial puzzle of the 19th century. — Ann Marie Somma