Definition of safety valve in US English:

safety valve


  • 1A valve opening automatically to relieve excessive pressure, especially in a boiler.

    • ‘When engineers build systems to manage enormous pressure, they usually design in points of release known as safety valves.’
    • ‘With a garden hose connected to this safety valve, you can direct some of the overflow after a heavy rain out into the garden.’
    • ‘I wasn't satisfied with the strength of the cylinders in which the pressurised, volatile mixture was carried, and I wanted more tests carried out on the safety valve intended to prevent blowbacks.’
    • ‘By 1865 the safety valve was fast disappearing.’
    • ‘Under normal conditions, the kidneys act as a safety valve to eliminate glucose above a certain threshold and prevent further accumulation.’
    • ‘As a result, they knew how the plant functioned and understood that some releases functioned as a safety valve.’
    • ‘The harnessing of solar energy by photosynthesis depends on a safety valve that effectively eliminates hazardous excess energy and prevents oxidative damage to the plant cells.’
    • ‘If total resistance is low, perhaps due to an internal short circuit in a motor, current flows so fast it can overheat the wire and burn through the insulation, unless there is a safety valve, such as a fuse.’
    • ‘With no systematic way to address errors, the network has no built-in safety valve that allows it to correct the record.’
    • ‘He designed a safety valve to prevent the pressure of steam building up to dangerous levels.’
    1. 1.1 A means of giving harmless vent to feelings of tension or stress.
      • ‘He's finding working life immensely stressful, and the reckless boozing feels like a safety valve for him.’
      • ‘Art is not a challenge, it turns out, of existing institutions, but a relatively harmless substitute for such a challenge, a safety valve.’
      • ‘As a safety valve for parents who desperately need alternatives to schools in catastrophic condition, vouchers may work as a short-term balm, and as a prod to reform.’
      • ‘Certain elements within the ruling class regarded the party as a useful potential safety valve amid mounting social tensions.’
      • ‘Showing images of mere reversal may in fact provide a safety valve for the social tensions that the women's movement has created by demanding a more dominant role for women.’
      • ‘Even worse, they continue, is the possibility that the governments of India and China will build up huge armies in order to provide a safety valve for the young men's aggressive energies.’
      • ‘They sometimes tolerated a certain level of unauthorised absenteeism, recognising that it could function as a relatively harmless safety valve for the anger and resentments of enslaved people.’
      • ‘In this way the community meetings act as a safety valve, allowing the local people to come together, ask questions and learn the truth.’
      • ‘This was intended to act as a safety valve at times of mounting international pressure.’
      • ‘Releasing our emotions can act as a safety valve - relieving inner tensions, like steam out of a kettle.’
      • ‘But humor is a strange thing: it's a psychological safety valve, a means of voicing ‘unacceptable’ feelings.’
      • ‘I've seen every journal and notebook I've ever owned as a safety valve against the steam that just natural builds up the pressure in my mind and heart.’
      • ‘The idea that talking about your feelings functions as a kind of safety valve, allowing psychic pressure to be vented just as excess steam is allowed to escape from a blocked pipe, is sometimes referred to as the cathartic theory of emotion.’
      • ‘The Times affords itself no similar set of safety valves to release steam when the paper becomes the issue.’
      use, medium, means of expression, mode of expression, vehicle
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safety valve

/ˈsāftē ˌvalv//ˈseɪfti ˌvælv/