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English definition of “safety valve”

safety valve

noun [C]    
PRODUCTION a part of a machine that opens to release pressure if it becomes too high: The process involves shutting safety valves beneath the water's surface to prevent oil and gas releases .
something in a system or situation that helps when problems become too great : Experts say there must be a safety valve built into the system to relieve the stress caused by an economic slowdown . There's no safety valve , like higher air fare prices , to offset higher oil prices .
(Definition of safety valve noun from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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