Definition of valence in US English:



Linguistics Chemistry
  • 1The combining power of an element, especially as measured by the number of hydrogen atoms it can displace or combine with.

    ‘carbon always has a valence of 4’
    • ‘Addition reactions of inorganic molecules occur when an atom has more than one valence.’
    • ‘The difference in the valence of phosphorous and silicon provides the free electrons needed for metal-like behaviour.’
    • ‘One rather unsuccessful idea which he embarked on quite late in his career was to apply invariant theory to chemical valences.’
    • ‘These data can only be explained if one assumes that the affective valence of the prime is processed, even though this is not necessary for the task at hand.’
    • ‘Thus, the most obvious approach would be to use the Gouy-Chapman equation or its generalized formulation for electrolytes with mixed valences, the Grahame equation.’
    • ‘The valence of a unit is closely tied up with its dependence.’
    • ‘In covalent compounds the valence of an atom may be less obvious.’
    1. 1.1as modifier Relating to or denoting electrons involved in or available for chemical bond formation.
      ‘molecules with unpaired valence electrons’
      • ‘The metalloids have an intermediate number of valence electrons.’
      • ‘Oxygen has six valence electrons.’
      • ‘The electrons in the highest energy level are called valence electrons.’
      • ‘These superconductors usually contain more oxygen atoms than predicted by valence theory.’
      • ‘Nonmetals with eight valence electrons are chemically unreactive.’
    2. 1.2 The number of grammatical elements with which a particular word, especially a verb, combines in a sentence.
      • ‘Literature has reported valences of five and higher, but no substantiation of these has ever been shown.’
      • ‘The authors compared the responses of 20 highs with 20 lows on ratings of the valence of neutral words that were preceded by subliminal presentations of negative or neutral images.’
      • ‘The valence of specific words and expressions communicates sexual potency and the lack thereof.’
      • ‘The semantic valence attributed to a hieroglyphic language is two-edged.’


Late Middle English: from late Latin valentia ‘power, competence’, from valere ‘be well or strong’.