Definition of saliva in US English:



  • Watery liquid secreted into the mouth by glands, providing lubrication for chewing and swallowing, and aiding digestion.

    • ‘I let out a dry wheeze and reach to wipe the spit and saliva away from my mouth.’
    • ‘Occasionally people are infected through bodily fluids such as saliva, but this is rare.’
    • ‘I struggled to take long deep breaths and bit hard on the sides of my tongue to bring saliva into my mouth.’
    • ‘When the food doesn't go down, the mouth produces more saliva to try and lubricate everything into submission.’
    • ‘Once the sugary foods have gone from the mouth salts from your saliva act to repair the damaged enamel.’
    • ‘They were provided with a plastic container and asked to provide 2 ml of saliva by expectoration.’
    • ‘The flu virus is usually spread in the small droplets of saliva coughed or sneezed into the atmosphere by an infected person.’
    • ‘For the first few days you may produce more saliva than usual, and need to swallow more often.’
    • ‘His lower lip was slack and a dribble of saliva appeared at the corner of his mouth.’
    • ‘She turned around only to see a whole pack of wolves standing there, saliva dripping from their open mouths.’
    • ‘I rolled a pebble round and round inside my mouth, gathering a small pool of saliva, until that too dried up.’
    • ‘The total daily flow of saliva from all the salivary glands is around 600 ml.’
    • ‘My throat was dry and my mouth was filled with a thick, sticky saliva.’
    • ‘Avoiding refined sugars between meals gives your teeth a chance to be remineralised by saliva.’
    • ‘Rabies is mainly transmitted in saliva during a bite from an infected animal.’
    spit, spittle, dribble, drool, slaver, slobber, sputum
    View synonyms


Late Middle English: from Latin.