val·​or ˈva-lər How to pronounce valor (audio)
: 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.

Example Sentences

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 Which for us was not correct, that was not the appropriate award for their kind of valor. Zachariah Hughes, Anchorage Daily News, 30 Mar. 2023 The ashes of Olivier were interred in the abbey in 1991; at the memorial service, a recording of the famous speech was played, filling the church with the actor’s glorious bellicosity and echoing over the tomb of King Henry, whose valor inspired the words that now rattled his bones. Peter Ross, Smithsonian Magazine, 5 Apr. 2023 Manly valor is mostly a joke. Jake Coyle, ajc, 6 July 2022 He was highly decorated, receiving numerous commendations, including the Navy Cross — the second-highest medal for valor awarded by the Navy and Marines. Nick Hilden, Washington Post, 24 Mar. 2023 The Ukrainians have fought with valor befitting people defending their homeland against a ruthless aggressor. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, 25 Feb. 2023 He’s been awarded a posthumous Navy and Marine Corps Medal, the highest award for non-combat valor. San Diego Union-Tribune, 19 Feb. 2023 Even visiting Colorado recognized his valor. Helene Elliott, Los Angeles Times, 12 Nov. 2022 Both were recognized with a Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award for combat valor. Alex Horton,, 7 Oct. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'valor.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near valor

Cite this Entry

“Valor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2023.

Kids Definition


val·​or ˈval-ər How to pronounce valor (audio)
: personal bravery in the face of danger

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