safety valve

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  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.

Origin of safety valve

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

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British Dictionary definitions for safety valve

safety valve

  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
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