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valentine

[val-uh n-tahyn]
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noun
  1. a card or message, usually amatory or sentimental but sometimes satirical or comical, or a token or gift sent by one person to another on Valentine's Day, sometimes anonymously.
  2. a sweetheart chosen or greeted on this day.
  3. a written or other artistic work, message, token, etc., expressing affection for something or someone: His photographic essay is a valentine to Paris.
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Origin of valentine

1400–50; late Middle English, after the feast of Saint Valentine

Valentine

[val-uh n-tahyn]
noun
  1. Saint,died a.d. c270, Christian martyr at Rome.
  2. Also Valentinus. pope a.d. 827.
  3. a male given name: from a Latin word meaning “strong.”
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for valentine

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • From the beginning, too, Valentine like Shakespeare is a born lover.

  • At five-and-twenty Valentine was short, slight, and still girlish.

    Fruitfulness

    Emile Zola

  • In her haste to get it all over Valentine made a great gesture of surrender.

    Fruitfulness

    Emile Zola

  • Valentine then explained that Andree was not really well behaved.

    Fruitfulness

    Emile Zola

  • Once in the linen-room, Valentine ordered all the doors to be carefully secured.

    Fruitfulness

    Emile Zola


British Dictionary definitions for valentine

valentine

noun
  1. a card or gift expressing love or affection, sent, often anonymously, to one's sweetheart or satirically to a friend, on Saint Valentine's Day
  2. a sweetheart selected for such a greeting
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Valentine

noun
  1. Saint. 3rd century ad, Christian martyr, associated by historical accident with the custom of sending valentines; bishop of Terni. Feast day: Feb 14
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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

Word Origin and History for valentine

Valentine

n.

mid-15c., "sweetheart chosen on St. Valentine's Day," from Late Latin Valentinus, the name of two early Italian saints (from Latin valentia "strength, capacity;" see valence). Choosing a sweetheart on this day originated 14c. as a custom in English and French court circles. Meaning "letter or card sent to a sweetheart" first recorded 1824. The romantic association of the day is said to be from it being around the time when birds choose their mates.

For this was on seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd cometh there to chese his make.
[Chaucer, "Parlement of Foules," c.1381]

Probably the date was the informal first day of spring in whatever French region invented the custom (many surviving medieval calendars reckon the start of spring on the 7th or 22nd of February). No evidence connects it with the Roman Lupercalia (an 18c. theory) or to any romantic or avian quality in either of the saints. The custom of sending special cards or letters on this date flourished in England c.1840-1870, declined around the turn of the 20th century, and revived 1920s.

To speak of the particular Customs of the English Britons, I shall begin with Valentine's Day, Feb. 14. when young Men and Maidens get their several Names writ down upon Scrolls of Paper rolled up, and lay 'em asunder, the Men drawing the Maidens Names, and these the Mens; upon which, the Men salute their chosen Valentines and present them with Gloves, &c. This Custom (which sometimes introduces a Match) is grounded upon the Instinct of Animals, which about this Time of the Year, feeling a new Heat by the approach of the Sun, begin to couple. ["The Present State of Great Britain and Ireland" London, 1723]
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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper