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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 salty
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Every fluid of the body is salty, and every cell of the body is bathed in salt water.

    The Meaning of Evolution Samuel Christian Schmucker
  • The air was heavy, and the salty flavor of the flats might almost be tasted in it.

    Cy Whittaker's Place Joseph C. Lincoln
  • This sea stirred not, while the air above it was frozen in salty silence.

    Melomaniacs James Huneker
  • A strong, salty fragrance, wet and sweet, floated on the breeze.

    Tales of Fishes Zane Grey
  • The water that forms rain comes from the ocean, yet the rain is not salty.

    Common Science Carleton W. Washburne
British Dictionary definitions for salty


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 salty

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 salty



  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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