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[sal-ee] /ˈsæl i/
noun, plural sallies.
a sortie of troops from a besieged place upon an enemy.
a sudden rushing forth or activity.
an excursion or trip, usually off the main course.
an outburst or flight of passion, fancy, etc.:
a sally of anger.
a clever, witty, or fanciful remark.
Carpentry. a projection, as of the end of a rafter beyond the notch by which the rafter is fitted over the wall plate.
verb (used without object), sallied, sallying.
to make a sally, as a body of troops from a besieged place.
to set out on a side trip or excursion.
to set out briskly or energetically.
(of things) to issue forth.
Origin of sally
1535-45; < Middle French saillie attack, noun use of feminine past participle of saillir to rush forward < Latin salīre to leap
Related forms
sallier, noun
outsally, verb (used with object), outsallied, outsallying.
unsallying, adjective
5. quip, witticism. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for sallied
Historical Examples
  • The naked flats were very wide, and we sallied out, with the bridge as our guide.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • Then they took up the box between them, and sallied out to meet the mail.

  • After breakfast he and Climene sallied forth to take the air upon the quays.

    Scaramouche Rafael Sabatini
  • As they sallied forth, Seuthes rose to accompany them, like the soberest of men.

    Anabasis Xenophon
  • At once the Apaches sallied forth from their cover in full cry after him.

    When the West Was Young Frederick R. Bechdolt
  • De Guzman sallied out to meet them and was killed at the head of his troops.

    Sir Henry Morgan, Buccaneer Cyrus Townsend Brady
  • He soon returned with his cap, and they sallied out together.

    David Elginbrod George MacDonald
  • With the first streak of day I sallied out to find the means of locomotion.

    Among the Pines

    James R. Gilmore
  • I imagined they had sallied, and made the confusion I observed.

  • He treated himself to a third scotch whisky, and sallied out into the rain.

    The Yellow Claw Sax Rohmer
British Dictionary definitions for sallied


noun (pl) -lies
a sudden violent excursion, esp by besieged forces to attack the besiegers; sortie
a sudden outburst or emergence into action, expression, or emotion
an excursion or jaunt
a jocular retort
verb (intransitive) -lies, -lying, -lied
to make a sudden violent excursion
(often foll by forth) to go out on an expedition, etc
to come, go, or set out in an energetic manner
to rush out suddenly
Derived Forms
sallier, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Old French saillie, from saillir to dash forwards, from Latin salīre to leap


noun (pl) -lies
the lower part of a bell rope, where it is caught at handstroke, into which coloured wool is woven to make a grip
Word Origin
C19: perhaps from an obsolete or dialect sense of sally1 leaping movement


noun (pl) -lies
a member of the Salvation Army
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for sallied



1540s, "a sudden rush, dash, or springing forth; specifically of troops from a besieged place, attacking the besiegers," from Middle French saillie "a rushing forth," noun use of fem. past participle of saillir "to leap," from Latin salire "to leap" (see salient (adj.)). Sally-port "gate or passage in a fortification to afford free egress to troops in making a sally" is from 1640s.


fem. proper name, alteration of Sarah (cf. Hal from Harry, Moll from Mary, etc.). Sally Lunn cakes (1780) supposedly named for the woman in Bath who first made them and sold them in the streets. Sally Ann as a nickname for Salvation Army is recorded from 1927.



1540s, from sally (n.). Related: Sallied; sallying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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