val·​ley | \ˈva-lē \
plural valleys

Definition of valley 

1a : an elongate depression of the earth's surface usually between ranges of hills or mountains

b : an area drained by a river and its tributaries

2 : a low point or condition

3a : hollow, depression

b : the place of meeting of two slopes of a roof that form on the plan a reentrant angle

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for valley


dale, dene [British], hollow, vale

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of valley in a Sentence

the valley will be the first to flood if the river rises

Recent Examples on the Web

These communities, therefore, operated on peaks and valleys. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "How vacation homes went from private escape to investment opportunities," 2 Oct. 2018 That tension came to a head in last night’s Emmys broadcast, a surreal, dissonant descent into the uncanny valley of intent vs. impact that was somehow even more embarrassing than the Academy’s simple traditional snubbing of good television. Devon Maloney, The Verge, "Hollywood had a breakdown trying to justify itself at the 2018 Emmys," 18 Sep. 2018 Even with peaks and valleys in his play, Tyler Johnson was very good value for the Heat at $5.9 million each of the past two seasons. Barry Jackson, miamiherald, "Tyler Johnson contract creating challenges, and these interesting future options for Heat," 12 July 2018 There have been peaks and valleys, but not since the dot-com boom of the late 1990s and early 2000s has the American economy consistently delivered productivity growth above 2 percent per year. Tory Newmyer, Washington Post, "The Finance 202: Navarro stems stock sell-off by discounting trade war," 26 June 2018 There have been peaks and valleys, but not since the dot-com boom of the late 1990s and early 2000s has the American economy consistently delivered productivity growth above 2 percent a year. Ben Casselman, New York Times, "Robots or Job Training: Manufacturers Grapple With How to Improve Their Economic Fortunes," 25 June 2018 Yzerman's consistency carried the Wings through Sergei Fedorov's and Shanahan's offensive peaks and valleys. Drew Sharp, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Red Wings 1998 Stanley Cup flashback: Steve Yzerman's legacy," 16 June 2018 Sure, specific events and staff changes have resulted in peaks and valleys in the intensity of leaking over Trump’s year-plus as president, but the pattern has been in place since the very beginning. Nicholas Zimmerman, Daily Intelligencer, "Why Washington Insiders Decide to Leak," 16 May 2018 When intensively layered, the peaks and valleys of a surface can mimic coral and landscapes. Nikki Delamotte,, "For Cleveland's Matthew Gallagher, art and music is always in a state of research and development," 14 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'valley.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of valley

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for valley

Middle English valeye, borrowed from Anglo-French valee (early Old French valede), from val "valley" + -ee, noun suffix (here with augmentative force), going back to Latin -āta, feminine of -ātus -ate entry 1 — more at vale

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about valley

Statistics for valley

Last Updated

13 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for valley

The first known use of valley was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for valley



English Language Learners Definition of valley

: an area of low land between hills or mountains

: a low period, point, or level


val·​ley | \ˈva-lē \
plural valleys

Kids Definition of valley

: an area of lowland between ranges of hills or mountains

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on valley

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


a private place of worship

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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