valence

noun
va·​lence | \ ˈvā-lən(t)s How to pronounce valence (audio) \

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

Examples of valence in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The prize bestowed in his name, this year awarded to Margaret Atwood, is for free speech, a concept whose political valence has shifted since his death. Christian Lorentzen, Harper’s Magazine , 20 July 2022 In Kinshasa, the capital city, bushmeat (antelope, pangolin, even bonobo) takes on a more complicated moral valence when pushed up against contemporary marketplaces and buyer-seller dynamics. Outside Online, 24 May 2020 Raffi’s resistance to learning Russian, his discomfort with his father’s choice, has no cultural valence to it, but it certainly, and understandably, does to Gessen. Phillip Maciak, The New Republic, 27 June 2022 In Colson Whitehead’s 2016 novel, the figuratively magical network that aided enslaved people in their pursuit of freedom took on a real mythical valence: the miracle of The Underground Railroad was powered by a literal locomotive. Tyler Coates, The Hollywood Reporter, 9 June 2022 Texas didn’t really try to hide the political and ideological valence of HB 20. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 1 June 2022 Thousands of Christians flocked to his events, where prayer and singing took on a new valence of defiance. New York Times, 6 Apr. 2022 The valence on this crisis might flip unpredictably. WSJ, 11 Mar. 2022 The Javelin has taken on a symbolic valence in pro-Ukraine online chatter. Washington Post, 10 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of valence

1884, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for 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 univalent entry 1, bivalent entry 1, etc., on the model of equivalent, equivalence — more at quantity

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Time Traveler for valence

Time Traveler

The first known use of valence was in 1884

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Dictionary Entries Near valence

valedictory

valence

Valence

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Statistics for valence

Last Updated

16 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Valence.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/valence. Accessed 18 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for valence

valence

noun
va·​lence | \ ˈvā-lən(t)s How to pronounce valence (audio) \

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 compared
b : 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

Valence geographical name

Va·​lence | \ va-ˈläⁿs How to pronounce Valence (audio) \

Definition of Valence

commune in southeastern France south of Lyon population 63,405

More from Merriam-Webster on valence

Nglish: Translation of valence for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of valence for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about valence

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