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[val-uh ns, vey-luh ns] /ˈvæl əns, ˈveɪ ləns/
a short curtain or piece of drapery that is hung from the edge of a canopy, from the frame of a bed, etc.
a short ornamental piece of drapery placed across the top of a window.
Origin of valance
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English; perhaps after Valence, French city noted for cloth-making
Related forms
valanced, adjective
Can be confused
valance, valence. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for valance
Historical Examples
  • He sat kicking his heels against the valance of the bed, and thinking.

    Despair's Last Journey David Christie Murray
  • Paddy howled, and I lifted a corner of the valance to see what was transpiring.

    The O'Ruddy Stephen Crane
  • The dull, black, frowzy outline of the valance above me was within an inch of being parallel with his waist.

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

    The Manor House School Angela Brazil
  • So Sara Lee got into her white bed with the dotted Swiss valance, and drew the covers to her chin, and looked a scant sixteen.

    The Amazing Interlude Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • Faded calico covered the seat, a valance of the same hung about the legs; two of the upright spindles were missing from the back.

    When Grandmamma Was New Marion Harland
  • The valance was lifted and disclosed a large quarter cask and several kegs full of rum, which were taken up and deposited outside.

  • Christina looked along his arm, along the lifted revolver, to what was now only a dark opening in the valance.

    "Persons Unknown" Virginia Tracy
  • Turn in the upper edge of the valance, gather it to fit the bed and pin it in position.

  • He was a small-faced man, with a squarely aquiline nose and a black moustache, which hung like a valance over his mouth.

    With Edged Tools Henry Seton Merriman
British Dictionary definitions for valance


a short piece of drapery hung along a shelf, canopy, or bed, or across a window, to hide structural detail
Derived Forms
valanced, adjective
Word Origin
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
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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
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