English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Some things are valuable, i.e. they are of great worth or appreciated for whatever reason. Some other things, however, are not valuable at all to start with, but we can assign value to them by convention or law, for example. This process is called valorization. When something is valorized, it becomes valuable.

I need an adjective to describe things that may be subject to valorization, but which are not valuable yet. Valorizable comes to mind, but it doesn't appear in OED.

I am working in the cultural heritage domain, where almost any conceivable thing may be given cultural value by someone at some point. A thing that has cultural value is valuable. What do you call a thing that has no cultural value (yet), but has the potential to become valuable?

share|improve this question
Can you clarify? Anything from cowrie shells to engraved pieces of paper can be assigned a value by authority; it becomes valuable if people agree on the value. – TimLymington Sep 5 '11 at 10:56
@TimLymington: Yes, but that's not relevant to my question (as far as I can see). Let's assume that things, whatever they are, can be assigned a value by whomever. – CesarGon Sep 5 '11 at 10:58
commodifiable/saleable? – Autoresponder Sep 5 '11 at 11:39
@user11761: Thanks for your answer; however, I am looking for a more abstract term, one that focuses on the concept of value as an abstract thing (and not necessarily monetary) rather than that of selling or buying. – CesarGon Sep 5 '11 at 12:40
Sounds like you're looking for plain and simple 'valuable'. In context, if a thing is 'valuable', it means a value can be assigned to it. (Although if context doesn't make this explicit, it might just seem to mean 'of great value'). Can you provide a little more context/background? – Autoresponder Sep 5 '11 at 12:57
up vote 5 down vote accepted

You might consider using evaluable which describes something that we can attach a value to.

share|improve this answer
evaluable is a good answer, but since the OP was asking for adjective, I'd say evaluative. – Phonics The Hedgehog Sep 6 '11 at 2:50
@Jasper Loy: I am not sure about evaluable. It means that something can be have its value determined, and this is halfway between having its value established and having it appreciated. Still, your answer is the best so far, and sounds reasonable, so +1 to you. – CesarGon Sep 6 '11 at 13:48
@Jasper: I have accepted your answer now; thank you! If you don't mind, I'd like to acknowledge your help in the documentation of the research project about which this question was posted. – CesarGon Sep 10 '11 at 2:43
@Jasper: Cool, thanks. – CesarGon Sep 10 '11 at 23:53

You could try the adjective appreciative

feeling, expressing, or capable of appreciation

This works because things can appreciate in value, i.e. become more valuable.

share|improve this answer
As far as I understand, appreciative is applied to the people who sees value in something, rather to the thing being valued. The example in the link that you provide ("an appreciative audience at the concert") shows this well. – CesarGon Sep 6 '11 at 13:39

If something has not yet been valorized, it is unevaluated, implying that it might be valued at some point in the future.

share|improve this answer

I can't think of a single word that does what you want it to do. The best I can come up with is a phrase -- "latent value"? "potential value?" "inherent worth?"

share|improve this answer
I am trying to find an adjective. – CesarGon Sep 5 '11 at 20:33
I like this idea - maybe "potentially valuable"? – aedia λ Sep 7 '11 at 23:10

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.