Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[vey-luh ns] /ˈveɪ ləns/
  1. the quality that determines the number of atoms or groups with which any single atom or group will unite chemically.
  2. the relative combining capacity of an atom or group compared with that of the standard hydrogen atom. The chloride ion, Cl–, with a valence of one, has the capacity to unite with one atom of hydrogen or its equivalent, as in HCl or NaCl.
Immunology. the number of determinants per molecule of antigen.
the capacity of one person or thing to react with or affect another in some special way, as by attraction or the facilitation of a function or activity.
Also, valency.
Origin of valence
1865-70; < Latin valentia strength, worth, equivalent to valent- (stem of valēns), present participle to be strong + -ia noun suffix; see -ence
Can be confused
valance, valence.


[va-lahns] /vaˈlɑ̃s/
a city in and the capital of Drôme, in SE France.


[drohm] /droʊm/
a department in SE France. 2533 sq. mi. (6560 sq. km).
Capital: Valence. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for valence
Historical Examples
British Dictionary definitions for valence


noun (chem)
another name (esp US and Canadian) for valency
the phenomenon of forming chemical bonds


/French valɑ̃s/
a town in SE France, on the River Rhône. Pop: 64 260 (1999)


/French drom/
a department of SE France, in Rhône-Alpes region. Capital: Valence. Pop: 452 652 (2003 est. Area: 6561 sq km (2559 sq miles)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for valence

early 15c., "extract, preparation," from Latin valentia "strength, capacity," from valentem (nominative valens), present participle of valere "be strong" (see valiant). Meaning "combining power of an element" is recorded from 1884, from German Valenz (1868), from the Latin word.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
valence in Medicine

valence va·lence (vā'ləns) or va·len·cy (-lən-sē)

  1. The combining capacity of an atom or a radical determined by the number of electrons that it will lose, add, or share when it reacts with other atoms.

  2. A positive or negative integer used to represent this capacity.

  3. The number of components of an antigen molecule to which an antibody molecule can bind.

  4. The attraction or aversion that an individual feels toward a specific object or event.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
valence in Science
A whole number that represents the ability of an atom or a group of atoms to combine with other atoms or groups of atoms. The valence is determined by the number of electrons that an atom can lose, add, or share. An atom's valence is positive if its own electrons are used in forming the bond, or negative if another atom's electrons are used. For example, a carbon atom can share four of its electrons with other atoms and therefore has a valence of +4. A sodium atom can receive an electron from another atom and therefore has a valence of -1. (In this book the distinction between positive and negative valences is ignored unless it is relevant.) The valence of an atom generally indicates how many chemical bonds it is capable of forming with other atoms. Also called valence number, oxidation state.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
valence in Culture
valence [(vay-luhns)]

A number characterizing an atom, equal to the number of valence electrons.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for valence

Difficulty index for valence

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for valence

Scrabble Words With Friends