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 The Blob features a speed safety valve for fast and easy inflation and deflation as well as grommets on all four corners to make tethering a breeze. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "You Can Play Cornhole in the Pool With This Inflatable Set," 5 June 2020 Without a safety valve, these miscalculations could have an impact on premiums the following year, as insurers tried to adjust. Los Angeles Times, "Column: Supreme Court overturns key GOP sabotage of Obamacare, granting insurers $12 billion," 27 Apr. 2020 In his four seasons as a starter, Prescott frequently looked to Cobb or Cole Beasley as a safety valve. Michael Middlehurst-schwartz, USA TODAY, "NFL draft 2020: After free agency losses, Dallas Cowboys could look to reload at key positions," 4 Apr. 2020 Still, its continuation shows how the overseas account continues to be a safety valve for the Pentagon in a time of limited — though sizable — budgets. oregonlive, "Space Force makes first request for war funds," 16 Feb. 2020 With all of the offensive weapons out there with him, center Daniel Theis was an important safety valve down low for the Celtics. Adam Himmelsbach,, "Observations from the Celtics’ victory over the Thunder," 9 Feb. 2020 Hunt has taken over the Higgins role as Baker Mayfield’s safety valve receiver. Terry Pluto, cleveland, "How the world has changed for Cleveland Browns, Rashard Higgins, Kareem Hunt," 14 Dec. 2019 On Sunday, with the Thunder’s defense swarming toward the Celtics’ dangerous wings, Daniel Theis remained a valuable safety valve. Adam Himmelsbach,, "Celtics hang on to defeat Thunder," 9 Feb. 2020 In Argentina, which had an election to serve as a safety valve, incumbents were voted out. Washington Post, "Behind South America’s Year of Rage, Years of Woe," 4 Dec. 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

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The first known use of safety valve was in 1744

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Statistics for safety valve

Last Updated

23 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Safety valve.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

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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

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