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 Tinfoil-hat toppers, and many in Silicon Valley, fear Armageddon is coming and see Mars as our safety valve. Andy Kessler, WSJ, "Dear NASA: What’s in It for Me?," 13 Dec. 2020 The 6-foot-2, 235-pound junior caught four of five passes thrown to him, two for first downs, and is proving to be a sure-handed safety valve. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State football: Here's who helped or hurt their stock vs. Ohio State," 7 Dec. 2020 DeVante Parker, the Dolphins’ first-round pick in 2015, has been a consistent safety valve, and caught Tagovailoa’s touchdown pass against the Broncos. Safid Deen,, "Dolphins hope Tua Tagovailoa can expand his game in this key area with more experience," 24 Nov. 2020 With Baltimore struggling to gain traction in the passing game, Andrews should be a reliable safety valve. Tony Holm, USA TODAY, "Fantasy football stock watch: Time to redo the quarterback rankings?," 10 Nov. 2020 On second-and-11 from the SDSU 38, quarterback Carson Baker dropped back, couldn’t find an open receiver and safety valve Greg Bell wasn’t in the clear, either. San Diego Union-Tribune, "3 Things We Learned ... in the Aztecs’ 28-17 loss to San Jose State," 7 Nov. 2020 Higgins was very effective as Mayfield’s safety valve in 2018. Terry Pluto, cleveland, "Any message from Baker Mayfield looking confident, offense humming? – Terry Pluto’s Browns postgame scribbles," 26 Oct. 2020 The final safety valve is the U.S. Postal Service, whose finances and network have been stretched during the coronavirus pandemic and could come under more pressure if shippers dump their overflow orders into the agency’s network. Paul Ziobro, WSJ, "This Holiday Crunch Starts Early With More Packages Than Means to Deliver Them," 18 Oct. 2020 But that safety valve didn’t release enough pressure to prevent inventories from dropping by one-third as sales rose rapidly. Shawn Tully, Fortune, "Housing flips the recession script: Prices will keep rising for up to a year, but here’s how the party will end," 4 Oct. 2020

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

7 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Safety valve.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

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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

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