saliva

play
noun sa·li·va \sə-ˈlī-və\

Definition of saliva

  1. :  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

Examples of saliva in a Sentence

  1. our mouths filled with saliva when we smelled the delicious dinner

Recent Examples of saliva from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of saliva

Latin


SALIVA Defined for English Language Learners

saliva

play
noun

Definition of saliva for English Language Learners

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


SALIVA Defined for Kids

saliva

play
noun sa·li·va \sə-ˈlī-və\

Definition of saliva for Students

  1. :  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


Medical Dictionary

saliva

play
noun sa·li·va \sə-ˈlī-və\

Medical Definition of saliva

  1. :  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



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up saliva? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

cleverly stylish

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time-traveler-quiz-which-word-came-first
  • Which came first?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!