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[sawl-tee] /ˈsɔl ti/
adjective, saltier, saltiest.
tasting of or containing salt; saline.
piquant; sharp; witty.
racy or coarse:
salty humor.
of the sea, sailing, or life at sea.
Origin of salty
late Middle English
late Middle English word dating back to 1400-50; See origin at salt1, -y1
Related forms
saltily, adverb
saltiness, noun
oversalty, adjective
unsalty, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for saltiness
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But if it loses its saltiness and becomes tasteless, is there any way to make it good salt again?

  • Salt water is heavier than fresh water, hence the amount of saltiness of water may be known from its density or weight.

  • Mitaslup na ang kaparat sa isdà, The saltiness has penetrated deep into the flesh of the fish.

  • He lay and smelled gunpowder mingling with the saltiness of the bay and the evening incense of the earth.

    The Lady of Fort St. John

    Mary Hartwell Catherwood
  • Hence its saltiness and great specific gravity, a man floating in it—it is said—very readily.

    Across America James F. Rusling
  • The cheese is then placed in this bath and left for three to five days, depending on the saltiness desired.

    The Book of Cheese

    Charles Thom and Walter Warner Fisk
British Dictionary definitions for saltiness


adjective saltier, saltiest
of, tasting of, or containing salt
(esp of humour) sharp; piquant
relating to life at sea
Derived Forms
saltily, adverb
saltiness, noun
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 saltiness

1660s, from salty + -ness.



mid-15c., "tasting of salt, impregnated with salt," from salt (n.) + -y (2). Meaning "racy" is from 1866, from salt in the sense of "that which gives life or pungency" (1570s, originally of words or wit). Meaning "racy, sexy" is from 1866. U.S. slang sense of "angry, irritated" is first attested 1938 (probably from similar use with regard to sailors, "tough, aggressive," attested by 1920), especially in phrase jump salty "to unexpectedly become enraged." Related: Saltily.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for saltiness



  1. Audacious; daring; aggressive: I relaxed, smiled. Salty little bugger (1920+ Navy)
  2. Terrible; nasty; unpalatable (1940s+ Jive talk)
  3. ngry; hostile (1938+ Black)
  4. Expensive; also, falsely bid higher
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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