What Does the Word Valid Mean? Unlocking the True Meaning

Are you trying to understand the true meaning of the word ‘valid’? You’ve come to the right place! In this article, we will delve into the meaning of the word ‘valid’ and explore its various contexts. We will also address the common misconceptions about the word and provide you with a comprehensive understanding of its meaning.

What is the Definition of Valid?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word ‘valid’ is defined as:

“Having legal efficacy or force; especially: executed with the proper legal authority and formalities”

“Well-grounded or justifiable: being at once relevant and meaningful; logically correct”

“Having legal force: executed with the proper formalities”

Essentially, something that is ‘valid’ is considered legally binding or acceptable, and is typically backed up by proper documentation or authorization.

The Different Contexts of Validity

While the term ‘valid’ is commonly used in a legal sense, it can also be used in various other contexts.

Validity in the Scientific Community

In the scientific community, the term ‘validity’ carries a slightly different meaning. Here, the term is used to refer to the degree to which a scientific method, tool or study accurately measures what it’s intended to measure.

For example, let’s say you’re measuring the impact of a new drug on a group of individuals. The study you conduct would have to be ‘valid’ to ensure that the results accurately reflect the impact of the drug on those individuals. This measure of accuracy is crucial in the scientific community, as it helps to ensure that research and studies are conducted without any bias.

Validity in Computer Science

In the world of computer science, the term ‘validity’ is often used when referring to data validation. Here, the term is used to describe the process of ensuring that user input is accurate, and that the specific format of that input is correct.

The Misconception of Validity

While the true meaning of ‘validity’ may not be known to many people, what is commonly understood to be ‘valid’ is quite different.

Valid vs. True

Many people often confuse the meaning of ‘valid’ with ‘true’. While both of these words are similar in nature, they actually carry quite different meanings.

Whereas ‘valid’ refers to something that is legally acceptable or justifiable, ‘true’ refers to something that is factual or accurate. It’s important to differentiate between the two, because just because something is valid, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true.

The Importance of Validity

As we’ve mentioned earlier, validity plays a crucial role in many areas – in legal documentation, scientific studies, and even in everyday life!

Importance in Legal Documentation

When it comes to legal documentation, ‘validity’ is used to ensure that everything is above board and legal. For example, contracts are only considered legally binding if they are deemed ‘valid’ by the courts. This validity often confirms that each party has provided proper documentation, and that each party was fully aware of the terms and conditions specified in the contract before signing.

Importance in Scientific Studies

If you’re a researcher, the concept of ‘validity’ is fundamental to your work. Ensuring that experiments or studies are ‘valid’ is essential in ensuring the accuracy of the results obtained. Inaccurate research can have harmful effects on people’s lives, which can have severe consequences. Therefore, scientific studies are only considered credible if they are deemed valid by other experts in the field.

The Different Types of Validity

You may be wondering whether there are different types of Validity, and the answer is yes! There are many different types of validity, and all of them serve different purposes. Here are some of the most commonly used types of validity:

Internal Validity

In the realm of scientific studies, ‘internal validity’ refers to the degree to which a study’s results can be attributed to the variables under investigation. Essentially, this type of validity helps researchers determine whether or not the results of their study are actually related to the specific variable being studied.

External Validity

‘External validity’ is the degree to which the results of a study can be generalized to other contexts. Essentially, it helps researchers determine whether the findings of their study could be applied to other groups of individuals or settings outside of the original study.

Face Validity

‘Face validity’ is the simplest form of validity, which is used to explain whether or not a test or tool measures what it’s intended to measure. For example, if a test is designed to measure intelligence, face validity would ensure that it actually tests for intelligence, and not something else entirely.

Content Validity

‘Content validity’ is used to measure whether or not a test or tool adequately covers all the topics it’s intended to cover. Essentially, researchers would use content validity to ensure that their questionnaire or test covers all the relevant topics and issues.


Understanding the true meaning of the word ‘valid’ is essential for a variety of reasons, whether it’s for legal documentation, scientific studies, or even in daily life. Knowing the different contexts in which it can be used and the various types of validity can help ensure that you use the term accurately, and in the appropriate way.


  • What does valid mean in research?
  • Validity in research refers to the degree to which a study’s results can be attributed to the variables under investigation.

  • What is face validity?
  • Face validity is where a test or tool is designed to measure what it claims to measure.

  • What is the difference between validity and reliability?
  • Validity refers to the degree to which a tool or test measures what it claims to measure or how far and accurately the model may converge towards the absolute truth while, reliability refers to the reproducibility of the measurement or how consistent the tool or test is in producing the same result over and over again.


  • “Valid.” Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2021.
  • Mesookhee, H. (2019). Validity and reliability of subjective quality of life measures. Social Indicators Research, 141(1), 61-79.
  • Lee, V., Mumford, M. D., Helton, W. S., Connelly, S., & Devenport, L. D. (2003). Validation of a multitasking framework. Human Performance, 16(1), 45-75.

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