safety valve

(redirected from safety-valves)

safety valve

An activity that one does to release strong feelings (such as stress) in a healthy or positive way. Golf has become my safety valve—when I'm really stressed about work, I make sure to schedule a tee time.
See also: safety
References in classic literature ?
From the cavernous jaws issued a hissing sound of a volume equal to the escaping steam from the safety-valves of half a dozen locomotives, and then the creature came for the man.
Swearing is the safety-valve through which the bad temper that might otherwise do serious internal injury to his mental mechanism escapes in harmless vaporing.
Rogojin, too, seemed to have taken up the conversation with unusual alacrity it appeared that he was still in a considerable state of excitement, if not absolutely feverish, and was in real need of someone to talk to for the mere sake of talking, as safety-valve to his agitation.
Tim, taking the hint, stifled his indignation as well as he could, and suffered it to escape through his spectacles, with the additional safety-valve of a short hysterical laugh now and then, which seemed to relieve him mightily.
One day I said to him when there was nobody by and he had been talking to me angrily about his wrongs, 'If this practice is a safety-valve, comrade, well and good; but I don't altogether like your being so bent upon it in your present state of mind; I'd rather you took to something else.
Shakspere suggests as explanations (motivation) for it, first that it serves as a safety-valve for Hamlet's emotions (is this an adequate reason?