Meaning of SALT in English


I. ˈsȯlt, chiefly Brit ˈsält noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English, from Old English sealt; akin to Old Frisian, Old Saxon, Old Norse, & Gothic salt, Old High German salz, Latin sal salt, Greek hals salt, sea, Armenian al salt, Sanskrit sal ila sea


a. : a colorless or white crystalline compound NaCl consisting of sodium chloride that occurs abundantly in nature both solid in minerals (as halite) and in solution, that has various uses (as for seasoning food, preserving meat, manufacturing sodium, chlorine, and their compounds, making glass and soap, and refrigerating), that constitutes about 2.6 percent of seawater, is found in small quantities in fresh water, and is present in all animal fluids and especially in urine, that is obtained commercially from deposits in the earth or by evaporation of natural brines (as seawater), and that in the commercial form usually contains small quantities of the deliquescent salts magnesium chloride and calcium chloride that cause it to attract moisture — called also common salt

b. : any of numerous substances (as sal ammoniac, sal prunella, sal soda) resembling common salt (as in appearance, incombustibility, or taste)

c. salts plural

(1) : a mineral or saline mixture (as Epsom salts, Rochelle salt, or Glauber's salt) used as an aperient or cathartic

(2) : smelling salts

d. : one of the three primary elements of matter in alchemy representing in contrast to mercury and sulfur the principle of fixity and solidity

e. : any of a class of compounds typified by common salt that are derived from acids by replacement of part or all of the acid hydrogen by a metal or radical acting like a metal, that may be formed by the reaction of acids with bases either with or without elimination of water, with metallic oxides, or with metals and also in other ways (as by direct union of their elements), that for the most part are dominantly ionic in character and have high melting points, and that in solution or in the fused state conduct an electric current and thereby undergo decomposition

sodium bisulfate and sodium sulfate are sodium salts of sulfuric acid

— compare acid I 2a(2), basic I 3c, double salt , normal I 10c; -ate , -ide , -ite

2. : a container for salt at table : saltcellar , saltshaker

the roly-poly salts and peppers that bob right up again if you tip them over — House Beautiful

— often used in the phrases above the salt and below the salt alluding to the former custom of seating persons of higher rank above and those of lower rank below a large saltcellar placed near the middle of a long table

3. : sustenance or support provided (as by a host or employer) : food , hospitality , keep — used often in the phrase to be worth one's salt


a. : an ingredient or element that gives savor, piquancy, or zest : flavor

a people … full of life, vigor, and the salt of personality — Clifton Fadiman

b. : sharpness of wit : pungency

a wit which has kept something of its salt — A.T.Quiller-Couch

c. : common sense , earthiness

the speech with the most salt and the least jargon — Colin Simpson

d. : corrective allowance : reserve , skepticism

take all the political and economic references with a healthy amount of salt — New Republic

— often used in the phrase take with a grain of salt

e. : the sprinkling of people thought to set a model of excellence for or to give tone to the rest — usually used in the phrase the salt of the earth

we no longer accept these country gentlemen … as the salt of the earth — W.S.Maugham


a. : salt marsh

b. salts plural , chiefly dialect : marshes flooded by the tide

6. : sailor ; especially : an experienced seaman — often used with old

a tale worthy of an old salt

II. transitive verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Middle English salten, from Old English sealtan; akin to Old High German salzan to salt, Old Norse salta, Gothic saltan; all from a prehistoric Germanic verb from the noun represented by English salt (I)


a. : to add salt to : sprinkle, rub, impregnate, or season with salt

salt the food

salt the icy sidewalk

the spray salting our faces — Franc Shor

b. : to preserve (as fish or meat) with salt or in brine

salt mackerel

salt beef


a. : to give flavor or piquancy to

employs an irreverent humor to salt her shrewd observations — James Kelly

salted the work with highly readable case histories — Saturday Review

b. : to make bitter

their lives had been salted by the taste of death — J.P.Bishop


a. : to enrich (as a mine) artificially usually with fraudulent intent by secretly placing valuable mineral in some of the working places : plant 4b

b. : to enrich or impoverish either intentionally or accidentally (samples taken from a mine or claim for test purposes)

salting a barren claim … thereby setting off a rush that drew 5000 miners into the area on a fruitless search — Oscar Lewis

c. : to give to (something for sale or upon which a sale is based) an appearance of value, profitableness, or genuineness by fraudulent means

salting the books of a business

4. : to supply (as an animal) with salt : feed salt to

the field where cattle are salted


a. : to sprinkle as if with salt

salting clouds with silver iodide crystals

b. : to intersperse with : scatter among

party organizations … are heavily salted, almost inevitably, with men of affairs — W.S.White

c. : gray

experience has … salted his hair — Truman Capote

III. adjective

( -er/-est )

Etymology: Middle English, from Old English sealt (akin to Old Norse saltr salt), from sealt, n.


a. : full of, impregnated with, or containing salt : saline , salty

salt tears

salt butter

a salt solution

b. : smelling or tasting of salt

tasted the water, and it was salter than the waters of the sea — Elinor Wylie

with the sea all around her, and the salt , cold air — William Black

c. : being or inducing one of the four basic taste sensations — compare bitter , sour , sweet

2. : cured or seasoned with salt : salted

salt beef


a. : overflowed with or impregnated by salt water

b. : growing in or native to a salt marsh

c. of soil or rock : mixed with salt : barren


a. : sharp , pungent

a salt wit — John Buchan

b. : bitter

a great and salt reproach — Stephen Crane

IV. adjective

Etymology: by shortening & alteration from assaut, from Middle English a sawt, from Middle French a saut, literally, on the jump, from a at, on + saut jump, from Latin saltus, from saltus, past participle of salire to jump, leap — more at sally

1. obsolete , of a female animal : being in heat

2. obsolete , of a person : lustful , lascivious

his salt and most hidden loose affection — Shakespeare

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.