saliva

[ suh-lahy-vuh ]
/ səˈlaɪ və /

noun

a viscid, watery fluid, secreted into the mouth by the salivary glands, that functions in the tasting, chewing, and swallowing of food, moistens the mouth, and starts the digestion of starches.

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Origin of saliva

First recorded in 1670–80, saliva is from the Latin word salīva

OTHER WORDS FROM saliva

sal·i·var·y [sal-uh-ver-ee] /ˈsæl əˌvɛr i/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for saliva

British Dictionary definitions for saliva

saliva
/ (səˈlaɪvə) /

noun

the secretion of salivary glands, consisting of a clear usually slightly acid aqueous fluid of variable composition. It moistens the oral cavity, prepares food for swallowing, and initiates the process of digestionRelated adjective: sialoid

Derived forms of saliva

salivary (səˈlaɪvərɪ, ˈsælɪvərɪ), adjective

Word Origin for saliva

C17: from Latin, of obscure origin
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

Medical definitions for saliva

saliva
[ sə-līvə ]

n.

The watery mixture of secretions from the salivary and oral mucous glands that lubricates chewed food, moistens the oral walls, and contains ptyalin.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Scientific definitions for saliva

saliva
[ sə-līvə ]

The watery fluid that is secreted into the mouth by the salivary glands. In many animals, including humans, it contains the enzyme amylase, which breaks down carbohydrates. Saliva also contains mucus, which lubricates food for swallowing, and various proteins and mineral salts. Some special chemicals occur in the saliva of other animals, such as anticoagulants in the saliva of mosquitoes.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for saliva

saliva
[ (suh-leye-vuh) ]

The fluid produced by the secretions of the salivary glands. Saliva contains enzymes that begin the digestion of starches. It also moistens the mouth tissues and makes food easier to chew and swallow.

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