river-land between two ranges of hills, early 14c., from Old French val "valley, vale" (12c.), from Latin vallem (nominative vallis, valles) "valley" (see valley). Now "little used except in poetry" [Century Dictionary]. Vale of years "old age" is from "Othello." Vale of tears "this world as a place of trouble" is attested from 1550s. An older phrase in the same sense was dale of dol (mid-15c.).
level or gently sloping ground between low hills with a stream flowing through it, Old English dæl "vale, valley, gorge," from Proto-Germanic *dalaz "valley" (source also of Old Saxon, Dutch, Gothic dal, Old Norse dalr, Old High German tal, German Tal "valley"), perhaps from PIE *dhel- "a hollow" (source also of Old Church Slavonic dolu "pit," Russian dolu "valley"), or perhaps a substratum word. It was preserved by Norse influence in the north of England. Related: Dalesman.
"small thickly wooded valley," from Old English denu "valley" (see den). Confused in Middle English with den. In Middle English down and dene meant "hill and dale."
Native American people of the lower Mississippi valley, 1775, a name of unknown origin.