[ sal-uh-ree ]
/ ˈsæl ə ri /
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See synonyms for: salary / salaries on Thesaurus.com

noun, plural sal·a·ries.
a fixed compensation periodically paid to a person for regular work or services.


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Origin of salary

First recorded in1350–1400; Middle English salarie, from Anglo-French, from Latin salārium “money given to soldiers to buy salt, salt money.” See sal, -ary

synonym study for salary

See pay1.


sal·a·ry·less, adjective


1. salary , celery2. salary , wages
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What is a salary?

A salary is a fixed, regular payment in exchange for work. This is different from earning a fee that depends on how many hours you work (earning a fixed rate per hour) or how much work you do, sometimes called piecework.

When you earn a salary, it is usually stated as the amount of money you will receive in one year for doing the work (before any taxes are paid). You will then be paid in equal amounts each pay period over the course of that year, even when you are on a paid vacation. How often you are paid will vary from company to company, with every other week and twice a month being most common.

To salary someone is to pay them a salary. A salaried employee is someone who is paid a salary instead of paid another way, such as paid by the hour.

Example: How can they expect me to live my best life when I’m paid on such a low salary?

Where does salary come from?

The first records of the term salary come from the 1300s. It ultimately comes from the Latin salārium meaning “money given to soldiers to buy salt” or “salt money.” In Latin, sāl means “salt.” In ancient Rome, the value of salt sometimes vastly exceeded the value of currency or was used as a suitable replacement for it. Sāl is still used to mean “salt” to, mainly in pharmacology. 

Salaries receive a lot of criticism. A salary is calculated based on the number of hours you would work each week, but most times you don’t need to prove you worked those hours. If no one notices that you come in late and leave early, you’ll be paid for hours you didn’t work. That could be considered stealing from the company if it happens frequently.

Equally, if you work more hours each week than your salary covers, you’ll be working for free. Salaried employees don’t usually mind working a couple extra hours once in a while in order to complete their work. When it happens frequently, however, that, too, might be considered stealing, especially if your boss doesn’t let you choose not to work. The company could be said to be stealing work from you.

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What are some other forms related to salary?

  • salaryless (adjective)
  • salaried (verb, adjective)
  • undersalaried (verb)

What are some synonyms for salary?

What are some words that share a root or word element with salary?

What are some words that often get used in discussing salary?

What are some words salary may be commonly confused with?

How is salary used in real life?

A salary is a common way to pay an employee who works a profession that does not include manual labor or wearing a uniform.


Try using salary!

Is salary used correctly in the following sentence?

I’m so excited that the salary at my new job will mean I can buy a new car!

How to use salary in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for salary

/ (ˈsælərɪ) /

noun plural -ries
a fixed regular payment made by an employer, often monthly, for professional or office work as opposed to manual workCompare wage (def. 1)
verb -ries, -rying or -ried
(tr) to pay a salary to

Word Origin for salary

C14: from Anglo-Norman salarie, from Latin salārium the sum given to Roman soldiers to buy salt, from sal salt
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