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 So often minority representation is about suffering, or about a kind of impossible valor. Maureen Lee Lenker,, 8 June 2021 Among them was Rafael Peralta, a Marine sergeant killed in Fallujah in 2004 and posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for valor. John Wilkens, San Diego Union-Tribune, 31 May 2021 Both were awarded the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military decoration for valor, and had worked at the railroad yard and repair shops in Greenup County, where a stretch of Highway 23 now bears their names. Washington Post, 7 May 2021 Ralph Puckett, who received two Distinguished Service Crosses, two Silver Stars for valor, five Purple Hearts for injuries suffered in combat, and two Bronze Star Medals during a 22-year military career, was informed of his latest award Friday. Mike Brest, Washington Examiner, 1 May 2021 Crowe, of Cambridge, Mass., earned a Silver Star for valor in 2008 in eastern Konar province and was shot there in 2012. Dan Lamothe, Anchorage Daily News, 15 Apr. 2021 The government promoted stories of the Nisei soldiers’ valor as part of a pro-Japanese American publicity campaign to combat the terrorism. Susan H. Kamei, The Conversation, 27 May 2021 The Torlonia, however, earned their peerage for skills other than martial valor. Ingrid D. Rowland, The New York Review of Books, 27 Apr. 2021 Hope navigates all of it with compassion and valor. Carole E. Barrowman, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 13 May 2021

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

13 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Valor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jun. 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

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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