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safety valve

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noun
  1. a device that, when actuated by a gas or vapor pressure above a predetermined level, opens and allows the gas or vapor to escape until its pressure is reduced to a pressure equal to or below that of the predetermined level.Compare relief valve.
  2. a harmless outlet for emotion, tension, etc.
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Origin of safety valve

First recorded in 1805–15
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

outlet

Examples from the Web for safety valve

Historical Examples

  • It was only a kind of safety-valve by which the detective let off his superfluous steam.

    Henry Dunbar

    M. E. Braddon

  • The safety-valve and filling plug are both shown in Fig. 51.

    Boys' Book of Model Boats

    Raymond Francis Yates

  • The boiler is shown at A and the safety-valve and filler at L.

    Boys' Book of Model Boats

    Raymond Francis Yates

  • It was a safety-valve which had worked satisfactorily at the right moment.

  • It is impossible to over-estimate the value of this safety-valve.


British Dictionary definitions for safety valve

safety valve

noun
  1. a valve in a pressure vessel that allows fluid to escape when a predetermined level of pressure has been reached
  2. a harmless outlet for emotion, energy, tension, etc
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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