Saliva definition

sə-līvə
The watery mixture of secretions from the salivary and oral mucous glands that lubricates chewed food, moistens the oral walls, and contains ptyalin.
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The thin, watery, slightly viscid fluid secreted by the salivary glands: it serves as an aid to swallowing and digestion by moistening and softening food, and contains enzymes which convert starch to dextrin and maltose.
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The watery mixture of secretions from the salivary and oral mucous glands that lubricates chewed food, moistens the oral walls, and contains ptyalin.
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The watery fluid that is secreted into the mouth by the salivary glands. In many animals, including humans, it contains the enzyme amylase, which breaks down carbohydrates. Saliva also contains mucus, which lubricates food for swallowing, and various proteins and mineral salts. Some special chemicals occur in the saliva of other animals, such as anticoagulants in the saliva of mosquitoes.
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(physiology) A clear, slightly alkaline liquid secreted into the mouth by the salivary glands and mucous glands, consisting of water, mucin, protein, and enzymes. It moistens the mouth, lubricates ingested food, and begins the breakdown of starches.
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Other Word Forms

Noun

Singular:
saliva
Plural:
saliv, salivae

Origin of saliva

  • Latin salīva

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • Borrowing from Latin salÄ«va ("spittle"), of uncertain origin. Perhaps from Proto-Indo-European *salw-, *sal- (“dirt, dirty"), cognate with Old English salu (“dark, dusky"). More at sallow.

    From Wiktionary