- a viscid, watery fluid, secreted into the mouth by the salivary glands, that functions in the tasting, chewing, and swallowing of food, moistens the mouth, and starts the digestion of starches.
- the secretion of salivary glands, consisting of a clear usually slightly acid aqueous fluid of variable composition. It moistens the oral cavity, prepares food for swallowing, and initiates the process of digestionRelated adjective: sialoid
adj.1709, from Latin salivarius, from saliva (see saliva). n.early 15c., from Middle French salive, from Latin saliva “spittle,” of unknown origin (perhaps, as Tucker suggests, somehow derived from the base of sallow (adj.)). adj.
- Of, relating to, or producing saliva.
- Of or relating to a salivary gland.
- The watery mixture of secretions from the salivary and oral mucous glands that lubricates chewed food, moistens the oral walls, and contains ptyalin.
- 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.
The fluid produced by the secretions of the salivary glands. Saliva contains enzymes that begin the digestion of starches. It also moistens the mouth tissues and makes food easier to chew and swallow.