val·​or | \ ˈva-lər How to pronounce valor (audio) \

Definition of valor

: strength of mind or spirit that enables a person to encounter danger with firmness : personal bravery

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When Should You Use valor?

Valor in uniform is still rewarded by medals. Many American civic organizations award a Medal of Valor for physical courage, and the Air Force Medal of Honor displays the single word "Valor". The somewhat old-fashioned adjective valorous more often describes warriors of the past. But valiant is still in common use, though it less often describes military courage than other kinds of bravery or effort.

Examples of valor in a Sentence

The soldiers received the nation's highest award for valor. the absence of indecision even in the face of death is the true mark of valor
Recent Examples on the Web Martinez received a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for valor and a Purple Heart posthumously and was also recognized by the city with an honorary street naming. Gloria Casas,, "Elgin’s 2020 in review: coronavirus, Black Lives Matter protests and veterans honored in death," 31 Dec. 2020 Without hitting me over the head with their valor and bravery under fire, the resume highlights tours of duty in foreign wars and mentions several citations of achievement. Phil Blair, San Diego Union-Tribune, "What is it about you that makes you so special?," 14 Dec. 2020 And yet, Robotham’s epilogue, a series of newspaper stories, shows the far-reaching effects of individual valor. Washington Post, "In ‘The Berlin Girl,’ a British journalist uncovers terrible secrets in 1937 Germany," 15 Dec. 2020 For distinguished gallantry and valor above and beyond the call of duty as commanding officer of the U.S.S. Growler during her fourth war patrol in the southwest Pacific from 10 January to 7 February 1943. Drew Broach | Staff Writer,, "On Pearl Harbor Day, meet Louisiana's World War II recipients of Medal of Honor," 7 Dec. 2020 This contest of giants ended in a draw though I was awarded a decoration for valor beyond the call of duty for making a breakfast of beer Monday morning. Kurt Vonnegut, The New Yorker, "Letters to Woofy," 23 Nov. 2020 Holland's conduct that day resulted in a medal of valor from the Arkansas Sheriffs Association, according to his LinkedIn page. Frank E. Lockwood, Arkansas Online, "Police chief resigns in Marshall; posts urging election-related violence drew scrutiny," 8 Nov. 2020 For distinguished gallantry and valor above and beyond the call of duty as commanding officer of the U.S.S. Growler during her fourth war patrol in the southwest Pacific from 10 January to 7 February 1943. Drew Broach | Staff Writer,, "On Veterans Day, meet all 26 of Louisiana's Medal of Honor recipients," 10 Nov. 2020 The valor of those who have stood up to the police in the streets after the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many others has been remarkable—and the official response has been inadequate. Kevin Baker, Harper's Magazine, "You Say You Want a Revolution," 27 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'valor.' 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 valor

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for valor

Middle English valour "worth, worthiness, bravery," borrowed from Anglo-French valor, valur, inherited or borrowed from early Medieval Latin valor, from Latin val- (stem of validus "in good health, robust, having legal authority," valēre "to be well, have strength") + -or, noun suffix — more at valid, wield

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Time Traveler for valor

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for valor

Last Updated

8 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Valor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for valor


How to pronounce valor (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of valor

literary : courage or bravery


val·​or | \ ˈva-lər How to pronounce valor (audio) \

Kids Definition of valor

: courage … the strange dog, no matter what the breed or valor, swiftly acknowledged Buck's supremacy …— Jack London, The Call of the Wild

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