Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

valence - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

noun [countable] valence pronunciation in American English /ˈveɪləns/
Word Forms

or valency valence pronunciation in American English /ˈveɪlənsi/

  1. 1
    chemistry a measurement of the ability of an atom to combine with other atoms
  2. 2
    linguistics the valence of a verb refers to all the phrases and clauses that typically follow it. For example, the valence of a linking verb like ‘be’ typically involves a noun group, an adjective group, or a prepositional phrase such as ‘in a muddle’ in the sentence ‘Oh dear, you are in a muddle, aren’t you?’

sea lion

in an online conversation, repeatedly asking a person questions which suggest that you are interested in what they are talking about, but are actually intended to annoy them

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


an electric skateboard

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play