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 When her young husband is sent to fight, partly as retaliation for the angered Duke's humiliation, Cyrano proves his selfless valor by slipping past enemy lines each day to send Christian's love missives to Roxanne. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Cyrano': Theater Review," 8 Nov. 2019 Dickinson especially went on to a storied Navy career, winning three Navy Crosses for his valor as a pilot, and eventually retiring as a rear admiral. Chuck Yarborough, cleveland, "New ‘Midway’ tells the story of the U.S.-Japan battle from the viewpoints of those who fought it," 6 Nov. 2019 But few knew his story or how the Marine Corps might decorate him for his valor. Dan Lamothe, Washington Post, "A decorated Marine, badly injured in Afghanistan, shares his hard road to recovery," 31 Oct. 2019 For his valor, he was honored as one of the 2019 Outstanding Airmen of the Year. CBS News, "Airman honored for heroism saves child on his flight to pick up the award," 26 Sep. 2019 Here's the Washington Post story on how Joe Biden has conflated several stories on the campaign trail about a reluctant soldier rewarded for valor. NBC News, "After a chaotic summer, 2020 fundamentals remain the same," 30 Aug. 2019 Across 33 years on active duty, Bolduc received two awards for valor, five Bronze Stars, and two Purple Hearts. John J. Miller, National Review, "Don Bolduc’s New Hampshire Senate Campaign," 12 Sep. 2019 Inscribed on the inside were three important words to Lombardi’s Packers: harmony, courage and valor., "A History of Football in 100 Objects," 28 Aug. 2019 He was promoted to color sergeant and awarded a Purple Heart as well as France’s Croix de Guerre for valor. New York Times, "Overlooked No More: Lau Sing Kee, War Hero Jailed for Helping Immigrants," 25 Aug. 2019

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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Statistics for valor

Last Updated

16 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for valor

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

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on valor

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for valor

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with valor

Spanish Central: Translation of valor

Nglish: Translation of valor for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of valor for Arabic Speakers

Comments on valor

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


to engage in dissolute behavior

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