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Molten vs. Liquid: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on December 25, 2023
'Molten' refers to materials melted by heat, typically metals or rock, while 'liquid' is a state of matter where a substance flows freely but is of constant volume.

Key Differences

'Molten' specifically describes a material transformed into a liquid by heat, like molten lava. 'Liquid', a fundamental state of matter, includes any substance in a fluid state, like water or oil.
The term 'molten' is often associated with high temperatures, as in molten iron in a furnace. In contrast, 'liquid' covers a wide temperature range, from cold beverages to hot tea.
'Molten' materials usually return to a solid state upon cooling, like molten glass solidifying into shapes. 'Liquid' substances may change state based on environmental conditions, like water freezing or evaporating.
The use of 'molten' is more common in industrial and geological contexts, such as molten metal in metalworking. 'Liquid' is a more versatile term, applicable in various contexts, from scientific to everyday usage.
The safety considerations for handling molten substances are critical due to high temperatures, while for liquids, concerns vary from non-hazardous (like water) to dangerous (like sulfuric acid).

Comparison Chart


Material in liquid state due to heat
State of matter flowing freely, constant volume


Typically high temperatures
Wide range, including room temperature

Common Contexts

Industrial, geological
Broad, including everyday life

State Change

Usually returns to solid upon cooling
May change states (freeze, evaporate)


High heat makes handling risky
Varies, some are safe, others hazardous

Molten and Liquid Definitions


Describing material in a liquid form due to extreme heat.
Molten steel was poured into the mold.


Any substance in a fluid state under room conditions.
Mercury is a metal that remains liquid at room temperature.


Refers to rock heated to a liquid state within the Earth.
Geologists study molten rock to understand volcanic activity.


A substance that flows freely, like water or oil.
The liquid spilled all over the floor.


Pertaining to the melted form of any heat-sensitive material.
The artist used molten wax for her sculpture.


A state of matter with a definite volume but no fixed shape.
Water is the most common liquid on Earth.


A state of substances liquefied by heat, especially metals.
The molten lava flowed from the volcano.


Describing a substance that is neither solid nor gas.
The recipe requires one cup of any liquid.


Liquid state achieved by substances usually solid at room temperature.
Glassblowers shape molten glass with great skill.


A form of matter that takes the shape of its container.
He poured the liquid into a bottle.


Made liquid by heat; melted
Molten lead.


The state of matter in which a substance exhibits a characteristic readiness to flow and little or no tendency to disperse, and is amorphous but has a fixed volume and is difficult to compress.


Made by melting and casting in a mold.


Matter or a specific body of matter in this state.


What does "molten" mean?

Molten refers to a substance, usually a metal or glass, that is in a liquid state due to high heat.

Is "molten" only used for metals?

Primarily for metals and glass, but can be used for other substances that melt under extreme heat.

Can "molten" describe a solid?

No, it only describes materials that are melted into a liquid.

Is "molten" used in science?

Yes, especially in geology and metallurgy.

Is "molten lava" correct?

Yes, it's a common term to describe lava in its liquid state.

What defines a liquid?

A state of matter with a definite volume but no fixed shape, adapting to its container.

Can we say "molten water"?

No, the correct term for water in a liquid state is simply "liquid" or "water".

Is "molten" a verb?

No, it's an adjective describing the state of a substance.

How is "molten" pronounced?

It's pronounced as 'mohl-tn'.

Can "liquid" be used metaphorically?

Yes, like in "liquid movement" to describe smooth motion.

Can "molten" be used figuratively?

Yes, in expressions like "molten anger" to describe intense emotions.

Can "liquid" describe gases?

No, gases and liquids are distinct states of matter.

Is "liquid" used in finance?

Yes, to describe assets that can be quickly converted into cash.

Is "liquid" a noun and an adjective?

Yes, it can be both.

What is "liquid nitrogen"?

Nitrogen in a liquid state, achieved at extremely low temperatures.

Are "molten" and "melted" interchangeable?

Not always. "Molten" implies a high-heat process, while "melted" is more general.

Are all drinks liquids?

Mostly, although some contain solids like pulp or ice.

How is "liquid" pronounced?

It's pronounced as 'lik-wid'.

Is water the only liquid?

No, many substances can be in liquid form, like oils or alcohol.

Can solids become liquids?

Yes, through the process of melting.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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