safety valve


plural safety valves
: a valve (as for a steam boiler) that allows gas or liquid under excessive pressure to escape in a controlled manner
: an outlet for pent-up energy or emotion
: something that relieves the pressure of overcrowding

Examples of safety valve in a Sentence

His hobbies act as a safety valve, relieving some of the pressure he feels from his job.
Recent Examples on the Web Much like the main character moving to the country to escape the stressors of modern life, Stardew Valley reviews paint the picture of a userbase finding a reliable safety valve to blow off steam in its work-like gameplay loops. Ian Walker |, Popular Science, 27 Mar. 2024 But then, with little notice, an April 2023 Editor Software ToS update removed that safety valve entirely. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, 15 Sep. 2023 There is at least one such petition pending, which was introduced some time ago to have as a safety valve against a possible default, on a bill introduced by Democrat Mark DeSaulnier of California. Norman J. Ornstein, The New Republic, 11 Oct. 2023 Courts in Atlanta, Richmond, Virginia and San Francisco have ruled to broaden eligibility for the safety valve reductions. CBS News, 25 Sep. 2023 Those areas have been growing through sprawl and have been the safety valve of where wages are not as high as Boston or San Francisco, but housing is cheap and you’re allowed to build a house. Byalena Botros, Fortune, 11 Aug. 2023 But another one in New York City in particular is that for a long time, the kind of safety valve was low wage immigrants who were willing to work under the table as nannies or as occasional babysitters or childcare. Joe Weisenthal,, 4 May 2023 Mayer, however, can serve as a safety valve who will keep the Bolts' offense rolling with tough catches and reliable run blocking. Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz, USA TODAY, 11 Mar. 2023 The company failed to seek approval of an alternate safety valve system and for failing to test the well safety valve systems used in the response. Alex Demarban, Anchorage Daily News, 29 June 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'safety valve.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1744, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of safety valve was in 1744

Dictionary Entries Near safety valve

Cite this Entry

“Safety valve.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

safety valve

: a valve that opens automatically (as when steam pressure becomes too great)

More from Merriam-Webster on safety valve

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