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 For his valor, Goodman was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Editorial: Ron Johnson's whitewash of the U.S. Capitol riot shows why Wisconsin's senior senator has to go," 18 Feb. 2021 President-elect Biden has been setting exactly the right tone and judges and officials in key swing states deserve medals for valor. Madeleine Albright, Time, "Madeleine Albright: 'Us vs. Them' Thinking Is Tearing America Apart. But Here's Why I'm Still Hopeful About the Future," 15 Jan. 2021 The Medal of Honor, the country’s highest award for military valor in action, is traditionally presented by the sitting president. New York Times, "Who Else Has Declined a Presidential Honor?," 12 Jan. 2021 One shows a prisoner had received the Iron Cross, a German military decoration for valor. Sig Christenson,, "Nazi headstones removed at Fort Sam," 23 Dec. 2020 For more than three years, the U.S. waged war in the Pacific Ocean, in Europe and North Africa, during which time seven men with ties to Louisiana fought with such valor that they were given the country's highest military award. Drew Broach | Staff Writer,, "On Pearl Harbor Day, meet Louisiana's World War II recipients of Medal of Honor," 7 Dec. 2020 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

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

25 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Valor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for valor



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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More from Merriam-Webster on valor

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for valor

Nglish: Translation of valor for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of valor for Arabic Speakers

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