(1) A term introduced into linguistics by Ferdinand de Saussure to refer to the functional identity of an entity when seen in the context of a rule-governed system. In his view, language is a system of independent terms, in which the ‘value’ (valeur) of each term results solely from the simultaneous presence of the others, related through the notions of syntagmatic and paradigmatic association. The notion plays a central role in the later development of structural linguistics.

(2) The term is also used in grammatical theory as part of a feature specification, along with feature name. For example, in the specifications [V, -] and [BAR 2], the ‘-’ and the ‘2’ are the feature values of the features V and BAR respectively. Multi-valued features are often referred to as ‘n-ary’ features.