SKIP TO CONTENT

saliva

The watery stuff in your mouth is called saliva. Saliva helps you swallow, but it can also be used to prep a spit ball.

You might know saliva as spit — but officially, when you spit, you spit saliva. There are special glands inside your mouth that produce saliva, which helps you chew and swallow, and also contains enzymes that start breaking down your food so it can be digested. Saliva is a Latin word, meaning "spittle," but its origin beyond that is a mystery.

Definitions of saliva
  1. noun
    a clear liquid secreted into the mouth by the salivary glands and mucous glands of the mouth; moistens the mouth and starts the digestion of starches
    synonyms: spit, spittle
    see moresee less
    types:
    dribble, drivel, drool, slobber
    saliva spilling from the mouth
    tobacco juice
    saliva colored brown by tobacco (snuff or chewing tobacco)
    type of:
    secretion
    a functionally specialized substance (especially one that is not a waste) released from a gland or cell
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.

SAT/PSAT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

ACT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week