combining capacity of an atom
expressed as the number of single bonds the atom can form or the number of electrons an element gives up or accepts when reacting to form a compound. Atoms are called monovalent, divalent, trivalent, or tetravalent, according to whether they form one, two, three, or four bonds (see chemical bond
Sections in this article:
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.