[val-uh ns, vey-luh ns]
See more synonyms for valance on
  1. a short curtain or piece of drapery that is hung from the edge of a canopy, from the frame of a bed, etc.
  2. a short ornamental piece of drapery placed across the top of a window.

Origin of valance

1400–50; late Middle English; perhaps after Valence, French city noted for cloth-making
Related formsval·anced, adjective
Can be confusedvalance valence Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for valance

Historical Examples of valance

  • Paddy howled, and I lifted a corner of the valance to see what was transpiring.

    The O'Ruddy

    Stephen Crane

  • He sat kicking his heels against the valance of the bed, and thinking.

    Despair's Last Journey

    David Christie Murray

  • Scott stooped, and raised the valance with the greatest precaution.

  • Also she walked around the valance, counting its birds of paradise.

    Georgina of the Rainbows

    Annie Fellows Johnston

  • Valance, the drapery or fringe hanging round the cover of a bed, couch, or other similar article.

    A Treatise on Domestic Economy

    Catherine Esther Beecher

British Dictionary definitions for valance


  1. a short piece of drapery hung along a shelf, canopy, or bed, or across a window, to hide structural detail
Derived Formsvalanced, adjective

Word Origin for valance

C15: perhaps named after Valence, France, town noted for its textiles
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 valance

piece of drapery, mid-15c., from Anglo-French *valance, from valer "go down," variant of Old French avaler; or possibly from the plural of Old French avalant, from present participle of avaler "go down." The notion is of something "hanging down."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper