Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


The immense pools in the Phillips were as salt as sea water.

It flowed out into a large flat, and finally runs into a salt lake.

A salt lake was visible a few miles to the east, towards which we proceeded.

As our horses would not drink it, it can be imagined how salt it was.

And they submitted to this without a murmur; but all sighed for salt!

When LOT swapped his wife away for a pillar of salt, the trade was free.

Season with the salt and pepper, heat thoroughly, and serve.

Add the milk, butter, salt, and pepper and return the clams.

Pour in the heated liquid and season with the salt and pepper.

Add the salt and water, cover the dish and place in the oven.


Old English sealt "salt" (n.; also as an adjective, "salty, briny"), from Proto-Germanic *saltom (cf. Old Saxon, Old Norse, Old Frisian, Gothic salt, Dutch zout, German Salz), from PIE *sal- "salt" (cf. Greek hals "salt, sea," Latin sal, Old Church Slavonic soli, Old Irish salann, Welsh halen "salt").

Modern chemistry sense is from 1790. Meaning "experienced sailor" is first attested 1840, in reference to the salinity of the sea. Salt was long regarded as having power to repel spiritual and magical evil. Many metaphoric uses reflect that this was once a rare and important resource, e.g. worth one's salt (1830), salt of the earth (Old English, after Matt. v:13). Belief that spilling salt brings bad luck is attested from 16c. To be above (or below) the salt (1590s) refers to customs of seating at a long table according to rank or honor, and placing a large salt-cellar in the middle of the dining table.

Salt-lick first recorded 1751; salt-marsh is Old English sealtne mersc; salt-shaker is from 1882. Salt-and-pepper "of dark and light color" first recorded 1915. To take something with a grain of salt is from 1640s, from Modern Latin cum grano salis.



nounsoluble base; opposite of an acid
Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.