safety valve


Definition of safety valve

1 : an automatic escape or relief valve (as for a steam boiler)
2 : an outlet for pent-up energy or emotion
3 : something that relieves the pressure of overcrowding

Examples of safety valve in a Sentence

His hobbies act as a safety valve, relieving some of the pressure he feels from his job.
Recent Examples on the Web According to a company report, when water gushed into a drum holding hot coke — an oil byproduct — the reaction triggered a safety valve that relieved the pressure. Anchorage Daily News, "After oil rained onto a U.S. Virgin Islands community, Biden pulls a refinery’s key permit," 26 Mar. 2021 During a time of lockdowns, quarantines and social distancing, solitaire seemed like a harmless enterprise, a salve for the mind and the hands, a safety valve that meant having something to do. Tom Hanks, WSJ, "Tom Hanks on the Pandemic Year: Never Play Solitaire Again," 18 Mar. 2021 Initially, the Brady background check is supposed to have what's called a three-day safety valve. Marisa Schultz, Fox News, "Rep. Andrew Clyde's Big Idea: Restore Second Amendment and eliminate all taxes on firearms," 12 Mar. 2021 Tinfoil-hat toppers, and many in Silicon Valley, fear Armageddon is coming and see Mars as our safety valve. Andy Kessler, WSJ, "Dear NASA: What’s in It for Me?," 13 Dec. 2020 The 6-foot-2, 235-pound junior caught four of five passes thrown to him, two for first downs, and is proving to be a sure-handed safety valve. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State football: Here's who helped or hurt their stock vs. Ohio State," 7 Dec. 2020 DeVante Parker, the Dolphins’ first-round pick in 2015, has been a consistent safety valve, and caught Tagovailoa’s touchdown pass against the Broncos. Safid Deen,, "Dolphins hope Tua Tagovailoa can expand his game in this key area with more experience," 24 Nov. 2020 With Baltimore struggling to gain traction in the passing game, Andrews should be a reliable safety valve. Tony Holm, USA TODAY, "Fantasy football stock watch: Time to redo the quarterback rankings?," 10 Nov. 2020 On second-and-11 from the SDSU 38, quarterback Carson Baker dropped back, couldn’t find an open receiver and safety valve Greg Bell wasn’t in the clear, either. San Diego Union-Tribune, "3 Things We Learned ... in the Aztecs’ 28-17 loss to San Jose State," 7 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'safety valve.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of safety valve

1744, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for safety valve

The first known use of safety valve was in 1744

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Statistics for safety valve

Last Updated

1 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Safety valve.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for safety valve

safety valve


English Language Learners Definition of safety valve

: a part in a machine that opens automatically to release steam, water, gas, etc., when pressure becomes too great
: something that allows someone to release mental stress and tension in a harmless way

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