valu·​able | \ˈval-yə-bəl, -yə-wə-bəl, -yü-ə- \

Definition of valuable 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : having monetary value

b : worth a good price

2a : having desirable or esteemed characteristics or qualities valuable friendships

b : of great use or service valuable advice



Definition of valuable (Entry 2 of 2)

: a usually personal possession (such as jewelry) of relatively great monetary value usually used in plural

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Other Words from valuable


valuableness noun
valuably \ˈval-​yə-​blē, -​yə-​wə-​blē, -​yü-​ə-​ \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for valuable

Synonyms: Adjective

big-ticket, costly, dear, expensive, extravagant, high, high-end, high-ticket, precious, premium, priceless, pricey (also pricy), spendy [chiefly Northwest], ultraexpensive

Antonyms: Adjective

cheap, inexpensive

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invaluable = valuable?

Many people find it confusing that the in- prefix at the beginning of invaluable apparently lacks the meaning "not" found in a number of other words, such as invalid, inarticulate, and insane. In fact, the prefix does indicate negation, but in a way that is not immediately obvious. The original (and current) meaning of invaluable is "valuable beyond estimation"; the word describes something so precious that one cannot assign a price to it. This, clearly, is the opposite of the meaning "having no value; valueless" that the word might seem to carry. Invaluable actually has been recorded in the sense "without value," but such use has been exceedingly rare and is practically nonexistent today.

Examples of valuable in a Sentence


The watch is extremely valuable. A lot of valuable advice can be found in this book. I learned a valuable lesson. He made many valuable contributions to the field of science. The volunteers provide a valuable service to the community. She is a valuable member of the staff. Clean air is a valuable natural resource that needs to be protected. Please don't waste my time. My time is very valuable.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Long-term studies exploring this would be hugely valuable, the researchers suggest. Cathleen O'grady, Ars Technica, "Chimps have different cultural norms about friendliness, too," 9 Nov. 2018 The framed document was dropped off in Woodbury, New Jersey, and sent to her department, which reviews donations that may be valuable, and lists the best among them on Maryclaire Dale, The Seattle Times, "Goodwill workers in NJ find original 1774 ‘rebel’ newspaper," 26 Oct. 2018 As part of this journey, there will be failure which may seem overwhelming, but is part of the learning process, and those life lessons are incredibly valuable. Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "Inspired By Beyoncé, 11 Women's Notes to Their 20-Something Selves," 6 Aug. 2018 Even if addressing that issue results in signing a forward to start over Bogdanovic, his shooting would be valuable coming off the bench. J. Michael, Indianapolis Star, "Bojan Bogdanovic will return to the Pacers, report says," 29 June 2018 Maurício Lopes, Embrapa’s chief since 2012, believes such know-how will be as valuable as the technology Embrapa invented in the 1970s and 1980s, which helped make Brazil an agricultural superpower. The Economist, "Tough times for Embrapa, a jewel of Brazilian innovation," 28 June 2018 However, the manuscripts in their backpacks proved to be valuable as well., "American Animals," 20 June 2018 Pick up the local Shoppers’ Guide and bounce from antique fair to tag sale to barn sale, collecting rare and valuable items that haven’t yet been priced with a tourist’s inflation. Kaitlyn Wylde, Vogue, "What’s So Great About Great Barrington? A Weekend Guide to the Quietly Cool Berkshire Town," 25 Oct. 2018 There’s no less than 76 appearances scheduled in across the three weeks, and while the majority of days will revolve around valuable causes and inspiring projects, one particular event stands out for another reason. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle May Wear a Tiara for the First Time Since the Royal Wedding During Her Tour with Prince Harry," 5 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Frankfort police are urging residents to lock their car doors and remove valuables, and also reminding residents to never leave their keys in the car. Staff Report, Daily Southtown, "Southland police blotter," 1 May 2018 Other biohacking fanatics have magnets or radio-frequency identification implants inserted under their fingertips as a more secure way to get into their cars or access other valuables. Maridel Reyes, Glamour, "'Biohacking' Your Anxiety Is a Buzzy Practice—but What Does It Actually Mean?," 16 Oct. 2018 Their homes were searched; their valuables were taken. Washington Post, "Rohingya say Myanmar targeted the educated in genocide," 7 June 2018 The war has left many historic buildings and their valuables in ruins. Joseph Serna,, "Authorities say ancient mosaic seized at Palmdale home was looted from war-torn Syria," 27 May 2018 The masked men burned the young boy with scalding hot water during the 30-minute ordeal in order to force the parents to tell them where their valuables were, police said. Travis Fedschun, Fox News, "Masked men terrorize Texas family, burn child with hot water during home invasion, officials say," 25 June 2018 Always keep your valuables on your person or in a small bag at your feet, at all times, rather than in the overhead bin—that’s your passport, wallet, and any crucial medication. Mark Ellwood, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Reality of In-Flight Theft," 18 May 2018 The purse was later found by someone in a driveway minus $100 cash, but still containing credit cards, medication and other valuables. Jim Riccioli, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Waukesha Police Report: Catalytic converters stolen off cars in Waukesha," 24 Jan. 2018 Three armed men forced their way into a home in the 3900 block of Limestone Way, demanded valuables, assaulted the homeowner and stole the victim's vehicle to flee. Molly Sullivan, sacbee, "Two Sacramento men arrested on suspicion of murder, home invasion, robbery spree," 13 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'valuable.' 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 valuable


circa 1576, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


circa 1775, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for valuable


value entry 2 + -able


noun derivative of valuable entry 1

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Statistics for valuable

Last Updated

6 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for valuable

The first known use of valuable was circa 1576

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More Definitions for valuable



English Language Learners Definition of valuable

: worth a lot of money

: very useful or helpful

: important and limited in amount


valu·​able | \ˈval-yə-wə-bəl, ˈval-yə-bəl\

Kids Definition of valuable

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : worth a lot of money

2 : of great use or service “I must not take any more of your valuable time.”— E. B. White, Charlotte's Web



Kids Definition of valuable (Entry 2 of 2)

: a personal possession of great value

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More from Merriam-Webster on valuable

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for valuable

Spanish Central: Translation of valuable

Nglish: Translation of valuable for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of valuable for Arabic Speakers

Comments on valuable

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


a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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