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Definition: Vomiting fire.

Pronunciation: Igh-nih-vom-oss


The word ignivomous stems from two Latin words- ignis (fire) and vomere (to vomit).  It originates sometime around 1600.

Why this word?

While the word volcano may refer to the same exact thing, I happen to like the imagery conveyed with this word.  It is the more poetic and dramatic verbal sibling of volcano.  The volcano is indeed vomiting fire if you can conceive of its uppermost opening as being its mouth, spewing its contents into our atmosphere.  I believe the only downside is that this word does not appropriately convey the danger involved with a volcanic eruption, instead downgrading it more to the environmental equivalent of the aftermath of a frat party.  Personally I don’t like to think of a potentially dangerous volcano as either hung over or with a stomach bug, but the image brought to mind is certainly vivid.

How to use the word ignivomous in a sentence?

“The sailors spied a suspicious round formation in the distance and while they were initially excited about the prospect of land, that excitement beat a quick retreat when the formation proved ignivomous.”

“Upon seeing the volcano erupt in the distance, he felt a similar ignivomous tendency ripple through his stomach as he realized his house had likely been destroyed.”


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Written by Kate Fulton

Kate Fulton has a bachelor’s degree in classics and psychology from the University of Massachusetts and is working on a library science degree from Simmons College. She has always been fascinated by words- their usage, spelling, and etymology. Kate may be one of the few people who enjoyed the verbal section of the SAT. Yes, she is a word geek. Currently she bores her husband and young daughter with her love of vocabulary.


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