Definition of valence
1 : the degree of combining power of an element as shown by the number of atomic weights of a monovalent element (such as hydrogen) with which the atomic weight of the element will combine or for which it can be substituted or with which it can be compared
2a : relative capacity to unite, react, or interact (as with antigens or a biological substrate)b [in part from valence in chemistry, in part borrowed from Late Latin valentia “power, capacity,” noun derivative of Latin valent-, valens, present participle of valēre “to have strength, be well” — more at wield] : the degree of attractiveness an individual, activity, or thing possesses as a behavioral goal the relative potency of the valences of success and failure — Leon Festinger
Recent Examples of valence from the Web
There are clear political valences in Hendricks’s wonderful, playfully exaggerated portraits of black people in uncountable poses of confidence, cool, defiance, and, more often than advertised, repose.
Scraping the track data for each recording in Radiohead’s oeuvre gave Thompson a list of each song’s valence.
The initial values used to quantify each song (valence, sentiment analysis, etc.)
Valence is aiming to open up new markets for lithium ion technology by proving that lithium can be safe, a move that would challenge both nickel metal hydride and lithium ion cobalt oxide cells.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'valence'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of valence
borrowed from German Valenz, short for Quantivalenz “(chemical) valence,” borrowed from English quantivalence, from Latin quantus “how much” + -i- -i- + English -valence, noun derivative from -valent, in 1univalent, 1bivalent, etc., on the model of equivalent, equivalence — more at quantity
First Known Use: 1884See Words from the same year
VALENCE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of valence for English Language Learners
chemistry : the amount of power of an atom which is determined by the number of electrons the atom will lose, gain, or share when it forms compounds
Medical Definition of valence
1a: the degree of combining power of an element or radical as shown by the number of atomic weights of a monovalent element (as hydrogen) with which the atomic weight of the element or the partial molecular weight of the radical will combine or for which it can be substituted or with which it can be comparedb: a unit of valence the four valences of carbon
2a: relative capacity to unite, react, or interact (as with antigens or a biological substrate)b: the degree of attractiveness an individual, activity, or object possesses as a behavioral goal the relative potency of the valences of success and failure—Leon Festinger
Seen and Heard
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