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Va·lence (və-läɴs, vă-)
A city of southeast France on the Rhone River south of Lyon. Settled in Roman times, it was captured by the Visigoths in AD 413 and the Arabs c. 730.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
va·lence (vāləns) also va·len·cy (-lən-sē)
n. pl. val·lenc·es also val·len·cies
1. Chemistry
a. The combining capacity of an atom or group of atoms as determined by the number of electrons it can lose, add, or share when it reacts with other atoms or groups. Also called oxidation state.
b. An integer used to represent this capacity, which may be given as positive or negative depending on whether electrons are lost or gained, respectively: The valences of copper are +1 and +2.
2. The number of binding sites of a molecule, such as an antibody or antigen.
3. The number of different antigens contained in a vaccine, corresponding to the number of pathogens that it is active against.
4. Psychology The degree of attraction or aversion that an individual feels toward a specific object or event.
5. Linguistics The number and type of arguments that a lexical item, especially a verb, can combine with to make a syntactically well-formed sentence, often along with a description of the categories of those constituents. Intransitive verbs (appear, arrive) have a valence of onethe subject; some transitive verbs (paint, touch), twothe subject and direct object; other transitive verbs (ask, give), threethe subject, direct object, and indirect object.
6. The capacity of something to unite, react, or interact with something else: "I do not claim to know much more about novels than the writing of them, but I cannot imagine one set in the breathing world which lacks any moral valence" (Robert Stone).

[Latin valentia, capacity, from valēns, valent-, present participle of valēre, to be strong; see wal- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.