saliva

noun
sa·​li·​va | \ sə-ˈlī-və How to pronounce saliva (audio) \

Definition of saliva

: a slightly alkaline secretion of water, mucin, protein, salts, and often a starch-splitting enzyme (such as ptyalin) that is secreted into the mouth by salivary glands, lubricates ingested food, and often begins the breakdown of starches

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Synonyms for saliva

Synonyms

drool, slaver, slobber, spit, spittle

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Examples of saliva in a Sentence

our mouths filled with saliva when we smelled the delicious dinner

Recent Examples on the Web

The UC Irvine Institute for Interdisciplinary Salivary Bioscience Research recently received a $1-million donation to expand a study that uses saliva to monitor lithium levels in patients with bipolar and major depressive disorders. Daily Pilot Staff, latimes.com, "Around Town: OC Brew Hee Haw brings beer and music to fair," 11 July 2019 Police can use a person’s abandoned sweat and saliva to create a DNA profile based on nothing but a tip from genealogical analysts, a judge in Alexandria Circuit Court ruled Thursday — the first case of its kind in Virginia state courts. Rachel Weiner, Washington Post, "Alexandria rape case based on DNA database search to go forward," 11 July 2019 This one was also a preeminent saliva-swapping song of its day. Scott Huver, CNN, "Your 'Stranger Things' Season 3 soundtrack," 8 July 2019 The pair swap saliva when Merteuil volunteers to teach Cecile how to French kiss. Rosy Cordero, EW.com, "Sarah Michelle Gellar sends Cruel Intentions costar Selma Blair a steamy throwback birthday kiss," 23 June 2019 Ebola spreads through contact with bodily fluids—such as blood, urine, feces, vomit, breast milk, and saliva—from people who have fallen ill or died from EVD. Michael Greshko, National Geographic, "What is the Ebola virus, and can it be stopped?," 9 Apr. 2019 The bacteria enters the skin when a dog or cat’s saliva comes into contact with the skin, either through a bite or an open wound. Madeline Farber, Fox News, "Death from a dog lick? Veterinarian explains rare infection triggered by pets' saliva," 15 Aug. 2018 In 2007, 23andMe became the first company to offer direct-to-consumer DNA tests, using mail-order kits and saliva samples that people could easily collect at home. Margaret Talbot, The New Yorker, "The Paternity Reveal," 24 June 2019 Alcohol is detectable for up to 6 hours in blood; about 12-24 hours in breath, urine, and saliva; and up to 90 days in hair. Maggie O'neill, Health.com, "How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your System? We Asked an Expert," 20 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'saliva.' 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 saliva

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for saliva

Latin

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Dictionary Entries near saliva

Salisbury steak

Salish

salite

saliva

salival

salivant

salivarium

Statistics for saliva

Last Updated

19 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for saliva

The first known use of saliva was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for saliva

saliva

noun

English Language Learners Definition of saliva

: the liquid produced in your mouth that keeps your mouth moist and makes it easier to swallow food

saliva

noun
sa·​li·​va | \ sə-ˈlī-və How to pronounce saliva (audio) \

Kids Definition of saliva

: a watery fluid that moistens chewed food and contains enzymes which break down starch and that is secreted into the mouth from three pairs of glands near the mouth

saliva

noun
sa·​li·​va | \ sə-ˈlī-və How to pronounce saliva (audio) \

Medical Definition of saliva

: a slightly alkaline secretion of water, mucin, protein, salts, and often a starch-splitting enzyme (as ptyalin) that is secreted into the mouth by salivary glands, lubricates ingested food, and often begins the breakdown of starches

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More from Merriam-Webster on saliva

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with saliva

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for saliva

Spanish Central: Translation of saliva

Nglish: Translation of saliva for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of saliva for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about saliva

Comments on saliva

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