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.

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 In addition to the Medal of Honor, the military’s highest decoration for valor, Colonel Puckett held a Distinguished Service Cross for his actions during the Vietnam War, along with two Silver Stars, two Bronze Stars and five Purple Hearts in his 22 years of military service. Richard Goldstein, New York Times, 8 Apr. 2024 Theirs is true valor, in the face of indescribable aggression. Janine Henni, Peoplemag, 1 Mar. 2024 That plot implies high-stakes wartime exploits and valor, which is what the nominal action-comedy depicts. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 16 Apr. 2024 Instead of celebrating Ukrainian valor, many observers are chiding the country for not turning the tide and going on the offensive. Dominic Tierney, Foreign Affairs, 25 Mar. 2024 Though Goetzman hopes that above all, viewers walk away with an understanding of the sacrifice and valor of the men fighting the war from the air. Maureen Lee Lenker,, 18 Dec. 2023 The song is the tribute that the man offers the woman, his wife, as a woman of valor, thanking her for all that she's meant to him in the preceding week and longer than that. Virginia Chamlee, Peoplemag, 28 Mar. 2024 Dive into a collection where each piece narrates a saga of valor, elegance, and ecological consciousness. Hilary Tetenbaum, USA TODAY, 16 Mar. 2024 The red stripe is for valor, the white stripe for purity and the blue stripe for justice, vigilance and permanency. Olivia Munson, The Courier-Journal, 5 Jan. 2024

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 19 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


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

More from Merriam-Webster on valor

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