safety valve


Definition of safety valve

1 : an automatic escape or relief valve (as for a steam boiler)
2 : an outlet for pent-up energy or emotion
3 : 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 With senior Matt Seybert approaching his final games, Gillison could be the Spartans’ safety valve for the next three years, particularly because the severity and prognosis for Dotson’s recovery is unknown. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Here are the young Michigan State football players who might offer hope for 2020," 22 Nov. 2019 Ever since the western oil majors lost control of output in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia’s willingness to maintain idle production capacity has been the world’s safety valve to offset its dependence on the volatile region. Julian Lee | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "The World’s Oil Security Blanket Has Been Torched," 23 Sep. 2019 One safety valve would be for the U.S. and China to resolve their trade war. The Christian Science Monitor, "proactive approach to wildfire prevention," 19 Aug. 2019 Miller has primarily been used as a pass-blocker on obvious passing downs but has displayed an ability to make catches out of the backfield as a safety valve. Tom Green |, al, "Establishing 2nd running back behind Boobee Whitlow vital for Auburn," 6 Sep. 2019 Mr Mubarak allowed a bit of space for opposition, as a safety valve and a sop to the West. The Economist, "Many Egyptians miss their deposed president, Hosni Mubarak," 22 Aug. 2019 On Danny Shelton’s sack, Bentley stayed in coverage and muddled the middle of the defense, taking away a Savage safety valve. Jim Mcbride,, "Patriots’ Ja’Whaun Bentley looks ready to contribute," 11 Aug. 2019 Shutting-in oil and gas production with underwater safety valves in wells is a standard procedure conducted for safety and environmental reasons. Jordan Blum, Houston Chronicle, "Production starts to return in Gulf after Hurricane Barry," 16 July 2019 With McCain playing deep center and serving as a safety valve, Fitzpatrick could line up against elite tight ends and slot receivers. Omar Kelly,, "Will third time be a charm for Dolphins safeties Reshad Jones and T.J. McDonald? | Countdown to camp," 16 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'safety valve.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of safety valve

1744, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for safety valve

Time Traveler

The first known use of safety valve was in 1744

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Statistics for safety valve

Last Updated

5 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Safety valve.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 16 December 2019.

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More Definitions for safety valve

safety valve


English Language Learners Definition of safety valve

: a part in a machine that opens automatically to release steam, water, gas, etc., when pressure becomes too great
: something that allows someone to release mental stress and tension in a harmless way

More from Merriam-Webster on safety valve

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with safety valve Encyclopedia article about safety valve

Comments on safety valve

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having a smooth flowing sound

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