: any of numerous mechanical devices by which the flow of liquid, gas, or loose material in bulk may be started, stopped, or regulated by a movable part that opens, shuts, or partially obstructs one or more ports or passageways
also: the movable part of such a device
: a device in a brass instrument for quickly channeling air flow through an added length of tube in order to change the fundamental tone by some definite interval
[borrowed from Medieval Latin valva, going back to Latin]: a bodily structure (such as the mitral valve) that closes temporarily a passage or orifice or permits movement of fluid in one direction only
[borrowed from New Latin valva, going back to Latin]: one of the distinct usually hinged and movable pieces of which the shell of some shell-bearing animals (such as lamellibranch mollusks, brachiopods, and barnacles) consists
[borrowed from New Latin valva, going back to Latin]
: one of the segments or pieces into which a dehiscing capsule or legume separates
: the portion of various anthers (as of the barberry) resembling a lid
They turned off the main water valve to the house.
Recent Examples on the WebThe release valve worked until Saturday, when the gates on the Gaza side closed again.—Kareem Fahim, Washington Post, 5 Nov. 2023 Release steam, and serve: Carefully turn steam release handle to VENTING position, and let steam fully escape (float valve will drop).—Southern Living Test Kitchen, Southern Living, 3 Nov. 2023 The American Heart Association yesterday publicized two preliminary studies that showed AI may accurately detect heart valve disease and predict cardiovascular risk.—Bysage Lazzaro, Fortune, 7 Nov. 2023 Data from environmental charity The Rivers Trust last year showed that sewage had spilled into the river at multiple points near Woodbridge, and that one sewage storm overflow — relief valves when a system is at risk of being overwhelmed — spilled into the river 33 times over the course of 2022.—Leila Sackur, NBC News, 1 Oct. 2023 On Earth, your heart pumps blood upward, and specialized valves in your circulatory system keep bodily fluids from pooling at your feet.—Rachael Seidler, Discover Magazine, 22 Sep. 2023 This loophole could be a release valve for my frustration over our short-sighted medical system that misunderstands obesity as a disease.—Jody Dushay, STAT, 15 Sep. 2023 Surgeries can range from a heart valve replacement or heart transplant to treating lung cancer or esophageal cancer.—Jasmine Browley, Essence, 31 Oct. 2023 If the handle is pulled, a valve in the wing closes and shuts off fuel to the engine.—Alex Sundby, CBS News, 23 Oct. 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'valve.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
Middle English, "leaf of a folding door," borrowed from Latin valva (usually in plural valvae) "double or folding door, leaf of such a door," perhaps going back to an early derivative of the base of volvere "to roll, make turn" — more at wallow entry 1
: a bodily structure (as the mitral valve) that closes temporarily a passage or orifice or permits movement of fluid in one direction only
: any of various mechanical devices by which the flow of liquid (as blood) may be started, stopped, or regulated by a movable part that opens, shuts, or partially obstructs one or more ports or passageways