valence

noun
va·lence | \ ˈvā-lən(t)s \

Definition of valence 

(Entry 1 of 2)

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

Valence

geographical name
Va·lence | \ va-ˈläⁿs \

Definition of Valence (Entry 2 of 2)

commune in southeastern France south of Lyon population 63,405

Examples of valence in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

This time around, there was a different divide — both in terms of the people involved, as Bannon and McMaster are both gone, and the valence of the options under discussion. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "The bombing of Syria reveals just how fundamentally incoherent Trump’s foreign policy is.," 17 Apr. 2018 These results show the amygdala is central to determining the valence of tastes. Simon Makin, Scientific American, "A Matter of Taste: Can a Sweet Tooth Be Switched Off in the Brain?," 30 May 2018 But Samantha remained uncompromising, casting doubt on the de facto valence of negativity that’s layered onto female selfishness. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "Long Live Samantha Jones," 6 June 2018 Rare events with high emotional valence often get coverage disproportionate to their likelihood, further magnifying our fears. David Ropeik, Anchorage Daily News, "School shootings are extraordinarily rare. Why is fear of them driving policy?," 10 Mar. 2018 For most people, the term evokes a strong negative valence. Robert H. Frank, New York Times, "Tesla’s Tiered Pricing Is a Hurdle, but a Fair One," 27 Oct. 2017 But among its valences is that we are granted permissions that adult women rarely receive. Zan Romanoff, Bon Appetit, "Why We Learned to Fight," 30 Dec. 2017 Health affects us in a profound and immediate way so that health services have a different moral valence than most other goods and services. Pascal-emmanuel Gobry, National Review, "The Poor Will Be Worse Off," 11 Oct. 2017 Nazism, too, had no valence in electoral politics, and Nazis have served as the ultimate representation of evil in American culture for decades. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump’s White Nationalist House," 20 Aug. 2017

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.

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First Known Use of valence

Noun

1884, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for valence

Noun

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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Statistics for valence

Last Updated

23 Jul 2018

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Time Traveler for valence

The first known use of valence was in 1884

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More Definitions for valence

valence

noun

English Language Learners Definition of valence

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

valence

noun
va·lence | \ ˈvā-lən(t)s \

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

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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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