AskDefine | Define polyvalent

Dictionary Definition

polyvalent adj
1 containing several antibodies each capable of counteracting a specific antigen; "a polyvalent vaccine" [ant: monovalent]
2 having more than one valence, or having a valence of 3 or higher [syn: multivalent] [ant: monovalent]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Having a high valence, especially more than three
  2. Having multiple valencies
  3. Containing antibodies to more than one kind of pathogen

Extensive Definition

Polyvalent is a synonym for multivalent and denotes something which has many values, meanings or appeals. The metaphoric origin of ~valent is derived from valency in chemistry and by metaphoric attribution, may now connote a "subtle, polyvalent allegory". In chemistry the terms polyvalent or multivalent can be used to refer to species which are not univalent or monovalent. For example, the Cs+ cation is a univalent or monovalent cation, whereas the Ca++ cation is a divalent or polyvalent or multivalent cation and the Fe+++ cation is a trivalent or polyvalent or multivalent cation. As a result, examples of polyvalent cations include the Ca++ cation and the Fe+++ cation.
Specific uses may refer to:
  • Polysemy
  • Polyvalent vaccine, a vaccine that can vaccinate a person against more than one strain of a disease
  • Antivenins are classified as polyvalent when they are effective against a range of species, or several different species at the same time
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