[ val-uhn-tahyn ]
/ ˈvæl ənˌtaɪn /
Save This Word!

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.
a sweetheart chosen or greeted on this day.
a written or other artistic work, message, token, etc., expressing affection for something or someone: His photographic essay is a valentine to Paris.


What Is The Origin Of Valentine's Day?

Red roses, heart-shaped candy boxes, fancy dinner reservations—how did all of these come to signify romance on February 14th?

There are grammar debates that never die; and the ones highlighted in the questions in this quiz are sure to rile everyone up once again. Do you know how to answer the questions that cause some of the greatest grammar debates?
Question 1 of 7
Which sentence is correct?

Origin of valentine

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

Other definitions for valentine (2 of 2)

[ val-uhn-tahyn ]
/ ˈvæl ənˌtaɪn /

Saint, died a.d. c270, Christian martyr at Rome.
Also Valentinus. pope a.d. 827.
a male given name: from a Latin word meaning “strong.”
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What is a valentine?

A valentine is a card or gift given to someone for the occasion of Valentine’s Day, a holiday on February 14 that’s popularly observed as a day to celebrate love, especially by those in romantic relationships.

Valentines are often intended as a declaration of love, but they can also be given as a gesture of friendship. Valentines are commonly exchanged by romantic partners, or given by someone who wants to show affection to or romantic interest in the recipient. But they can also be exchanged by family members and friends—children might make valentines for their parents and school students sometimes give valentines to all of their fellow classmates, for example.

The classic version of a valentine is a card shaped like a heart, but they can come in many forms. Valentine messages can be serious or humorous or silly.

The word valentine can also refer to the person to whom a valentine is given (or the person who gives it), or to a person’s date or romantic partner on Valentine’s Day. Asking someone to be your valentine typically conveys romantic interest—it most commonly means you want them to be your date for Valentine’s Day. However, this is not always the case.

The term Valentine’s (or Valentines) is a short way of referring to Valentine’s Day, as in Do you have plans for Valentine’s yet?

Valentine is also the name of a Christian saint whose feast day is observed on February 14. The name of Valentine’s Day can be traced back to this observance, though it may have also been influenced by another saint named Valentine.

Example: I always send valentines anonymously—I just want to make people happy, without any obligation.

Where does valentine come from?

The first records of the word valentine in its modern sense come from the 1400s. Valentines and Valentine’s Day get their name from feast day of Saint Valentine, but there are at least two saints named Valentine, one of whom became a martyr around the year 270 CE. The name Valentine comes from a Latin word meaning “strength.”

There are many legends about it, but it’s ultimately unclear how Valentine’s Day became associated with the tradition of exchanging the affectionate gifts and love notes that we call valentines. One of the first known mentions of Valentine’s Day  as a day celebrating romance comes from Geoffrey Chaucer’s 1375 poem Parliament of Foules (Fowls), in which he connects the day to the widespread belief of the time that February 14 was the start of the mating season for birds.


Find all the facts you ever wanted about valentine by reading our article on all the conversations surrounding the tradition of choosing valentines.

Did you know ... ?

What are some synonyms for valentine?

What are some words that share a root or word element with valentine



What are some words that often get used in discussing valentine?

How is valentine used in real life?

Valentine is typically used in the context of Valentine’s Day. It’s commonly used to refer to a card or gift given to celebrate the day or to the person the valentine is given to.



Try using valentine!

True or False?

Valentines are only exchanged by romantic couples.

How to use valentine in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for valentine (1 of 2)

/ (ˈvælənˌtaɪn) /

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
a sweetheart selected for such a greeting

British Dictionary definitions for valentine (2 of 2)

/ (ˈvælənˌtaɪn) /

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